Textual History

This poem appeared in The Liberator (August, 1919): [*] Claude McKay The Tired Worker The Liberator (August, 1919): 46 together with "Spring in New Hampshire" under the title "Negro Poems," in which version even numbered lines are indented (except the final line).


  • Highlight Variants ?

References to Poem ?


The Tired Worker

  1. O whisper, O my soul! The —the* afternoon

  2. Is waning into evening, *whisper soft!

  3. Peace, O my rebel heart! for soon the moon

  4. From out its misty veil will swing aloft!

  5. Be patient, weary body, soon the night

  6. Will wrap thee gently in her sable sheet,

  7. And with a leaden sigh thou wilt invite

  8. To rest thy tired hands and aching feet.  . . .*

  9. The wretched day was theirs, the night is mine;

  10. Come ,* tender sleep, and fold me to thy breast. . . .*

  11. But what steals out the gray clouds red like wine?

  12. O dawn! O dreaded dawn! O let me rest !*

  13. Weary my veins, my brain, my life ! Have —,have* pity!

  14. No! Once again the harsh hard*, the ugly city.


Harlem Shadows (1922)

Additional Poems by Claude McKay

Contemporary Reviews

Supplementary Texts