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North and South

by Claude McKay, 1922

O sweet are tropic lands for waking dreams!
  There time and life move lazily along.
There by the banks of blue-and-silver streams
  Grass-sheltered crickets chirp incessant song,
Gay-colored lizards loll all through the day,
  Their tongues outstretched for careless little flies,
And swarthy children in the fields at play,
  Look upward laughing at the smiling skies.
A breath of idleness is in the air
  That casts a subtle spell upon all things,
And love and mating-time are everywhere,
  And wonder to life's commonplaces clings.
The fluttering humming-bird darts through the trees
  And dips his long beak in the big bell-flowers,
The leisured buzzard floats upon the breeze,
  Riding a crescent cloud for endless hours,
The sea beats softly on the emerald strands —
  O sweet for quiet dreams are tropic lands!

Published in Harlem Shadows

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