Textual History

This poem also appeared in The Liberator (December, 1921): [*] Claude McKay Thirst The Liberator (December, 1921): 9 .


  • Highlight Variants ?



  1. My spirit wails for water, water now!

  2. My tongue is aching dry, my throat is hot

  3. For water,;* fresh rain rains* shaken from a bough,

  4. Or dawn dews heavy in some leafy spot.

  5. My hungry body's burning for a swim

  6. In sunlit water where the air is cool,

  7. As in Trout Valley where upon a limb

  8. The golden finch sings sweetly to the pool.

  9. Oh water, water, when the night is done,

  10. When day steals graygrey*-white through the window-pane,

  11. Clear silver water when I wake, alone,

  12. All impotent of parts, of fevered and stupefied of* brain;

  13. Pure water from a some* forest fountain first,

  14. To wash me, cleanse me, and to quench my thirst!


Harlem Shadows (1922)

Additional Poems by Claude McKay

Contemporary Reviews

Supplementary Texts