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Poem by Claude McKay
One Year After
I Not once in all our days of poignant love, Did I a single instant give to thee My undivided being wholly free. Not all thy potent passion could remove The barrier that loomed between to prove The full supreme surrendering of me. Oh, I was beaten, helpless utterly Against the shadow-fact with which I strove. For when a cruel power forced me to face The truth which poisoned our illicit wine, That even I was faithless to my race Bleeding beneath the iron hand of thine, Our union seemed a monstrous thing and base! I was an outcast from thy world and mine. II Adventure-seasoned and storm-buffeted, I shun all signs of anchorage, because The zest of life exceeds the bound of laws. New gales of tropic fury round my head Break lashing me through hours of soulful dread; But when the terror thins and, spent, withdraws, Leaving me wondering awhile, I pause-- But soon again the risky ways I tread! No rigid road for me, no peace, no rest, While molten elements run through my blood; And beauty-burning bodies manifest Their warm, heart-melting motions to be wooed; And passion boldly rising in my breast, Like rivers of the Spring, lets loose its flood.
Claude McKay's other poems:
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