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

Winter in the Country

Sweet life! how lovely to be here
     And feel the soft sea-laden breeze
Strike my flushed face, the spruce’s fair
     Free limbs to see, the lesser trees’

Bare hands to touch, the sparrow’s cheep
     To heed, and watch his nimble flight
Above the short brown grass asleep.
     Love glorious in his friendly might,

Music that every heart could bless,
     And thoughts of life serene, divine,
Beyond my power to express,
     Crowd round this lifted heart of mine!

But oh! to leave this paradise
     For the city’s dirty basement room,
Where, beauty hidden from the eyes,
     A table, bed, bureau and broom

In corner set, two crippled chairs
     All covered up with dust and grim
With hideousness and scars of years,
     And gaslight burning weird and dim,

Will welcome me    .  .  .    And yet, and yet
     This very wind, the winter birds,
The glory of the soft sunset,
     Come there to me in words.

​(Edited and Proofread by Brenda Martinez)

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