This poem also appeared in:
In Pearson's Magazine, this poem (along with "To the White Fiends," "The Conqueror," "The Park in Spring," and "Is it Worth While?") was prefaced by a statement by McKay, "Claude McKay Describes His Own Life: A Negro Poet".
I hear the halting footsteps of a lass
In Negro Harlem when the night lets fall
Its veil. I see the shapes of girls who pass
To bend and barter at desire's call. Eager to heed desire's insistent call:†§
Ah, little dark girls ,§ who in slippered feet
Go prowling through the night from street to street!.†§
Through the long night until the silver break
Of day the little gray feet know no rest;,†§
Through the lone night until the last snow-flake
Has dropped from heaven upon the earth's white breast,
The dusky, half-clad girls of tired feet
Are trudging, thinly shod, from street to street.
Ah, stern harsh world, that in the wretched way
Of poverty, dishonor dishonour† and disgrace,§
Has pushed the timid little feet of clay,.†
The sacred brown feet of my fallen race!
Ah, heart of me, the weary, weary feet
In Harlem wandering from street to street.