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


I am downhearted not, although it seems
The new birth is abortive in the West,
​And men are turning from long-cherished dreams
​Of world-wide freedom to ignoble rest.

​I am discouraged not, although the foe—
​Shameless, like boars disporting in the mud
Of their foul fen where nothing fair can grow—
​Wallow obscenely in the workers' blood.

I am despairing not, though in our ranks,
Hard-pressed and weak, are fools and fops and knaves,
​Who with their selfish aims and wanton pranks
Would sell the Cause to be contented slaves.

​What though I see the trusted and the tried
For many a year turn traitor at the last,
go over to the seeming stronger side!—
​My heart feels sick, but I am not downcast.

The babe bursts from the mother's womb in pain
​The night is darkest just before the dawn,
​The heavens turn black to bless the earth with rain,
​I am disheartened not, I will keep on.

(Workers Dreadnought, July 3, 1920. Signed as Hugh Hope)
​(Edited and Proofread by Amardeep Singh)

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