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

To "Holy" Russia


Long struggling  under the Imperial heel,
​Some dared not see the white flame of your star
Dimmed by the loathsome shadow of your Tsar.
But men who clung to sacred dreams could feel

Some day you would put forth your arm of steel
And drag the mannikins from near and far,
Before the mighty people's judgment bar,
​To answer for the ruined commonweal . . . .

​Down from their high, dishonoured place you hurled
​The cowed, incompetent, corrupted few;
​The blood-bathed flag of a new life unfurled,

Revealed your soul to Slav and Jew:
​The eyes of the too-long submissive world,
​Lifted in golden hope, are turned to you!

​--Workers Dreadnought. February 28, 1920. Signed as Claude McKay

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  1. To "Holy" Russia