Claude McKay's Early Poetry (1911-1922): A Digital Collection

De Hailstorm


We sheltered from de rain, one night,
   Beneat' a spreading' mango-tree;
De lightnin' cut shone clear an' bright
   Aroun' me an' my Idalee. 

De darkenin' shadows gathered roun',
   De raindrops fallin' from the sky
Made patt'rin' music in deir soun',
   While howlin' breezes hurtle by.

De night grew dark, de rain still poured,
   Our beatin' hearts were filled wid fears.
An' down below de river roared, 
   Her eyes were veiled with mist of tears.

De lightnin' cut, de 'tunder rolled,
   She trembled at de dazzling spark;
Although so wet, we were not cold, --
   Love warmed us, though de night was dark.

Fiercer an' fiercer waxed the storm,
   I kissed de tears 'way from her face,
I hugged de loved an' trimblin' form,
   She fluttered in me fond embrace.

We slide along de sloppy pass,
   De fordin' place was still up high;
We tried it, but we could not cross,
   I heard her give a smothered cry.

I took her to some school-friends near,
   'De mud-mud slidin' neat' our feet;
She kissed me, smilin', an' said 'Dear,
   We in de marnin' hope fe meet."

The to me home near by I ran,
   An' silently crept into bed;
I slept, -- a happy, happy man,
   Wide love-dreams twirlin' in my head.

An' in de marnin' wakin' late,
   I wondered at de t'ings I saw;
De place was in woeful state,
   My mout' was hushed in silent awe.

Banana trees lay on de groun',
   An' water covered off de plain;
Whole fields o' yam could not be foun',
   It was a fearful hurricane.

De mango-tree neat' which we'd stayed
   Was by de lightnin' rent an' torn;
What might have been had we delayed!
   I shivered in de sultry morn.

De brilliant sun rose to its height,
   An' looked do'n on de desolate scene
Half changing in de golden light
   To different shades of blue an' green.

Since then long years have slipped away,
   But still I look back on de past,
An t'ink upon de awful day
   We sheltered from de hail-storm's blast.

At times I wish de lightnin's stroke
   Had slain us neat' de mango-tree;
It would be long-time better luck 
   For me an' my poor Idalee. 

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  1. De Hailstorm