Claude McKay

In Bondage

I would be wandering in distant fields 
Where man, and bird, and beast, lives leisurely, 
And the old earth is kind, and ever yields 
Her goodly gifts to all her children free; 
Where life is fairer, lighter, less demanding, 
And boys and girls have time and space for play 
Before they come to years of understanding-- 
Somewhere I would be singing, far away. 
For life is greater than the thousand wars 
Men wage for it in their insatiate lust, 
And will remain like the eternal stars, 
When all that shines to-day is drift and dust 
But I am bound with you in your mean graves, 
O black men, simple slaves of ruthless slaves.

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