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

Claude McKay, "O Word I Love to Sing" (1922)

O word I love to sing! thou art too tender
     For all the passions agitating me;
For all my bitterness thou art too tender,
     I cannot pour my red soul into thee.

O haunting melody! thou art too slender,
     Too fragile like a globe of crystal glass;
For all my stormy thoughts thou art too slender,
     The burden from my bosom will not pass.

O tender word! O melody so slender!
     O tears of passion saturate with brine,
O words, unwilling words, ye can not render
     My hatred for the foe of me and mine.

Published in Harlem Shadows, 1922​​​​​​​
​(Edited and Proofread by Brenda Martinez)

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