Claude McKay


My spirit wails for water, water now! 
My tongue is aching dry, my throat is hot 
For water, fresh rain shaken from a bough, 
Or dawn dews heavy in some leafy spot. 
My hungry body’s burning for a swim 
In sunlit water where the air is cool, 
As in Trout Valley where upon a limb 
The golden finch sings sweetly to the pool. 
Oh water, water, when the night is done, 
When day steals gray-white through the windowpane, 
Clear silver water when I wake, alone, 
All impotent of parts, of fevered brain; 
Pure water from a forest fountain first, 
To wash me, cleanse me, and to quench my thirst!

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