A Red Flower

  1. Your lips are like a southern lily red,

  2. Wet with the soft rain-kisses of the night,

  3. In which the brown bee buries deep its head,

  4. When still the dawn's a silver sea of light.

  5. Your lips betray the secret of your soul,

  6. The dark delicious essence that is you,

  7. A mystery of life, the flaming goal

  8. I seek through mazy pathways strange and new.

  9. Your lips are the red symbol of a dream.

  10. What visions of warm lilies they impart,

  11. That line the green bank of a fair blue stream,

  12. With butterflies and bees close to each heart!

  13. Brown bees that murmur sounds of music rare,

  14. That softly fall upon the languorous breeze,

  15. Wafting them gently on the quiet air

  16. Among untended avenues of trees.

  17. O were I hovering, a bee, to probe

  18. Deep down within your scented heart, fair flower,

  19. Enfolded by your soft vermilion robe,

  20. Amorous of sweets, for but one perfect hour!


Harlem Shadows (1922)

Additional Poems by Claude McKay

Contemporary Reviews

Supplementary Texts