Textual History

This poem also appears in The Liberator (August, 1921): [*] Claude McKay Subway Wind The Liberator (August, 1921): 10 .


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Subway Wind

  1. Far down, down through the city's great, gaunt gut

  2. The gray grey* train rushing bears the weary wind;

  3. In the packed cars the fans the crowd's breath cut,

  4. Leaving the sick and heavy air behind.

  5. And pale-cheeked children seek the upper door

  6. To give their summer jackets to the breeze;

  7. Their laugh is swallowed in the deafening roar

  8. Of captive wind that moans for fields and seas;

  9. Seas cooling warm where native schooners drift

  10. Through sleepy waters,* while where* gulls wheel and sweep,

  11. Waiting for windy waves the their keels to lift

  12. Lightly among the islands of the deep;

  13. Islands of lofty palm trees blooming white

  14. That lend their perfume to the tropic sea,

  15. Where fields lie idle in the dew drenched dew-drenched* night,

  16. And the Trades float above them fresh and free.


Harlem Shadows (1922)

Additional Poems by Claude McKay

Contemporary Reviews

Supplementary Texts