Textual History

This poem also appeared in The Liberator (January, 1922): [*] Claude McKay La Paloma In London The Liberator (January, 1922): 23 .


  • Editorial Notes ?
  • Highlight Variants ?


La Paloma1 in London

  1. About Soho2 we went before the light;

  2. We went, unresting six, craving new fun,

  3. New scenes, new raptures,* for the fevered night

  4. Of rollicking laughter, drink and song, was done.

  5. The vault was void, but for the dawn's great star

  6. That shed upon our path its silver flame,

  7. When La Paloma on a low guitar

  8. Abruptly from a darkened casement3 came—

  9. Harlem! All else shut out a blank*, I saw the hall,

  10. And you in your red shoulder sash come dancing

  11. With Val ,* against me languid careless* by the wall,

  12. Your burning coffee-colored eyes keen glancing

  13. Aslant at mine, proud in your golden glory!

  14. I loved you, Cuban girl, fond sweet Diory.


Harlem Shadows (1922)

Additional Poems by Claude McKay

Contemporary Reviews

Supplementary Texts