Harlem Shadows

Original Text: 
Harlem Shadows: The Poems of Claude McKay, with an introduction by Max Eastman (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1922): 22. PS 3525 A24785 H3 Robarts Library.
1I hear the halting footsteps of a lass
2    In Negro Harlem when the night lets fall
3Its veil. I see the shapes of girls who pass
4    To bend and barter at desire's call.
5Ah, little dark girls who in slippered feet
6Go prowling through the night from street to street!
7Through the long night until the silver break
8    Of day the little gray feet know no rest;
9Through the lone night until the last snow-flake
10    Has dropped from heaven upon the earth's white breast,
11The dusky, half-clad girls of tired feet
12Are trudging, thinly shod, from street to street.
13Ah, stern harsh world, that in the wretched way
14    Of poverty, dishonor and disgrace,
15Has pushed the timid little feet of clay,
16    The sacred brown feet of my fallen race!
17Ah, heart of me, the weary, weary feet
18In Harlem wandering from street to street.
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.