African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology

Claude McKay, "Jasmines" (1921)

Your scent is in the room.
Swiftly it overwhelms and conquers me!
Jasmines, night jasmines, perfect of perfume,
Heavy with dew before the dawn of day!
Your face was in the mirror. I could see
You smile and vanish suddenly away,
Leaving behind the vestige of a tear.
Sad suffering face, from parting grown so dear!
Night jasmines cannot bloom in this cold place;
Without the street is wet and weird with snow;
The cold nude trees are tossing to and fro;
Too stormy is the night for your fond face,
For your low voice too loud the wind's mad roar.
But Oh, your scent --- jasmines, jasmines. that grow
Luxuriant, clustered round your cottage door!

Published in The Liberator, August 1921
Also published in Harlem Shadows, 1922

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