Textual History

This poem also appeared in The Liberator (March, 1922): [*] Claude McKay On the Road The Liberator (March, 1922): 22 . The version in The Liberator breaks the octet and sextet into separate line groups.


  • Editorial Notes ?
  • Highlight Variants ?

References to Poem ?


On the Road

  1. Roar of the rushing train fearfully rocking,

  2. Impatient people jammed in line for food,

  3. The rasping noise of cars together knocking,

  4. And worried waiters, some in ugly mood,

  5. Crowding into Hurrying in* the choking pantry hole

  6. To call out dishes for each angry glutton

  7. Exasperated grown beyond control,

  8. From waiting for his soup or fish or mutton.

  9. At last the station's reached, the engine stops;

  10. For bags and wraps the red-caps1 circle round;

  11. From off the step the passenger lightly hops,

  12. And seeks his cab or tram-car homeward bound:

  13. The waiters pass out weary, listless, glum,

  14. To spend their tips on harlots2, cards and rum.


Harlem Shadows (1922)

Additional Poems by Claude McKay

Contemporary Reviews

Supplementary Texts