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Poem by Claude McKay


Memorial


Your body was a sacred cell always, 
A jewel that grew dull in garish light, 
An opal which beneath my wondering gaze 
Gleamed rarely, softly throbbing in the night. 

I touched your flesh with reverential hands, 
For you were sweet and timid like a flower 
That blossoms out of barren tropic sands, 
Shedding its perfume in one golden hour. 

You yielded to my touch with gentle grace, 
And though my passion was a mighty wave 
That buried you beneath its strong embrace, 
You were yet happy in the momentТs grave. 

Still more than passion consummate to me, 
More than the nuptials immemorial sung, 
Was the warm thrill that melted me to see 
Your clean brown body, beautiful and young; 

The joy in your maturity at length, 
The peace that filled my soul like cooling wine, 
When you responded to my tender strength, 
And pressed your heart exulting into mine. 

How shall I with such memories of you 
In coarser forms of love fruition find? 
No, I would rather like a ghost pursue 
The fairy phantoms of my lonely mind.



Claude McKay


Claude McKay's other poems:
  1. Through Agony
  2. Thirst
  3. One Year After
  4. Enslaved
  5. Harlem Shadows


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