December, 1919

By Claude McKay 1889–1948 Claude McKay
Last night I heard your voice, mother,
      The words you sang to me
When I, a little barefoot boy,
      Knelt down against your knee.

And tears gushed from my heart, mother,
      And passed beyond its wall,
But though the fountain reached my throat
      The drops refused to fall.

'Tis ten years since you died, mother,
      Just ten dark years of pain,
And oh, I only wish that I
      Could weep just once again.

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Poet Claude McKay 1889–1948

SCHOOL / PERIOD Harlem Renaissance

Subjects Family & Ancestors, Relationships, Living, Sorrow & Grieving, Death

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 Claude  McKay

Biography

Festus Claudius McKay, better known as Claude McKay, was a key figure in the Harlem Renaissance, a prominent literary movement of the 1920s. His work ranged from vernacular verse celebrating peasant life in Jamaica to fairly militant poems challenging white authority in America, and from generally straightforward tales of black life in both Jamaica and America to more philosophically ambitious fiction addressing . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Family & Ancestors, Relationships, Living, Sorrow & Grieving, Death

SCHOOL / PERIOD Harlem Renaissance

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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