Textual History

This poem also appeared in The Liberator (March, 1922): [*] Claude McKay Absence The Liberator (March, 1922): 10 , signed "Claude McKay."


  • Editorial Notes ?
  • Highlight Variants ?



  1. Your words dropped into my heart like pebbles into a pool,

  2. Rippling around my breast and leaving it melting cool.

  3. Your kisses fell sharp on my flesh like dawn-dews from the limb,

  4. Of a fruit-filled lemon tree when the day is young and dim.

  5. Like soft rain-christened sunshine, as fragile as rare gold lace,

  6. Your breath, sweet-scented and warm, has kindled my tranquil face.

  7. But a silence vasty-deep, oh deeper than all these ties

  8. Now, through the menacing miles,* brooding between us lies.

  9. And more than the songs I sing, I await your written word,

  10. To stir my fluent1 blood as never your presence stirred.


Harlem Shadows (1922)

Additional Poems by Claude McKay

Contemporary Reviews

Supplementary Texts