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


If you lub me, Joanie, only tell me, dear,
   Do not be so cold
   When my lub is bold;
Do not mek dis burning heart o' mine get drear,
   Tek it for your own,
   For 'tis yours alone.

I hav ever lub'd you from I saw your face
   On dat Monday morn
   'Mongst de peas an' corn:
Lightly did you trip along wid yout'ful grace,
   Wid de kerchief red 
   Wound about your head. 

Durin' de revival we b'en use' fe pray,
   Spirit we b'en hab,
   How we use' fe sob!
Yet how soon did all of it from we get 'way!
   Lub kiver de whole,
   We feget we "soul." 

Though I could'n' see you when you younger b'en,
   It was better so,
   For we older grow,
An' I can protect you now from udder men,
   If you'll only be
   Fe me one, Joanie. 

How I saw you proudly draw up to your height--
   As we strolled along
   Gay in laugh an' song,
Passin' by de peenies sheddin' greenish light'--
   Cos my lips did miss,
   Stealin' one lee kiss! 

'Member you de days down by de river-side,
   I prevented you
   Your washin' to do,
Teasin' you at times till you got vex' an' cried,
   An' I try de while
   To coax you fe smile? 

Joanie, when you were me own a true sweetheart,
   I lived in de air
   'Douten t'ought of care,
Thinkin', o me Joan, dat' nuttin' could we part,
   Naught to mek me fear
   Fe me own a dear. 

When in church on Sunday days we use' fe sit,
   You dressed in light pink,
   How we used fe wink!
Wha' de parson say we cared for not a bit,
   Nuttin' could remove
   Our sweet t'oughts from love. 

I am thinkin', Joanie, when de nights were lone,
   An' you were afraid
   Of each darkened shade,
An' I use' fe guide you over river-stone,
   How you trusted me
   Fe care you, Joanie. 

'Member you de time when many days passed by,
   An' I didn' come
   To your hill-side home,
How you wrote those sad, sad letters to know why,
   Till I comfort gave
   To my Joanie brave? 

In those happy days, me Joan, you loved me then,
   An' I t'ought dat you
   Would be ever true;
Never dreamed you would forsake me for strange men,
   Who caan' lub you so
   Much as thrown-up Joe. 

Joanie, fickle Joanie, give up Squire's son;
   You wi' soon hate him
   An' his silly whim,
An' your heart wi' yearn fe me when I am gone;
   So, 'fo' 'tis too late,
   Come back to your mate. 

Joanie, when you're tired of dat worthless man,
   You can come back still
   Of your own free will: 
Nummo girl dis true, true heart will understan';
   I wi' live so-so,
   Broken-hearted Joe. 

An', Joan, in de days fe come I know you'll grieve
   For de foolishniss
   Dat you now call bliss:
Dere's no wrong you done me I would not forgive;  
   But you choice your way,
   So, me Joan, good-day!

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