Claude McKay

Winter in the Country

Sweet life! how lovely to be here 
And feel the soft sea-laden breeze 
Strike my flushed face, the spruce’s fair 
Free limbs to see, the lesser trees’ 

Bare hands to touch, the sparrow’s cheep 
To heed, and watch his nimble flight 
Above the short brown grass asleep. 
Love glorious in his friendly might, 

Music that every heart could bless, 
And thoughts of life serene, divine, 
Beyond my power to express, 
Crowd round this lifted heart of mine! 

But oh! to leave this paradise 
For the city’s dirty basement room, 
Where, beauty hidden from the eyes, 
A table, bed, bureau, and broom 

In corner set, two crippled chairs 
All covered up with dust and grim 
With hideousness and scars of years, 
And gaslight burning weird and dim, 

Will welcome me . . . And yet, and yet 
This very wind, the winter birds 
The glory of the soft sunset, 
Come there to me in words.

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