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by Claude McKay, 1922

Your body was a sacred cell always,
  A jewel that grew dull in garish light,
An opal which beneath my wondering gaze
  Gleamed rarely, softly throbbing in the night.

I touched your flesh with reverential hands,
  For you were sweet and timid like a flower
That blossoms out of barren tropic sands,
  Shedding its perfume in one golden hour.

You yielded to my touch with gentle grace,
  And though my passion was a mighty wave
That buried you beneath its strong embrace,
  You were yet happy in the moment's grave.

Still more than passion consummate to me,
  More than the nuptials immemorial sung,
Was the warm thrill that melted me to see
  Your clean brown body, beautiful and young;

The joy in your maturity at length,
  The peace that filled my soul like cooling wine,
When you responded to my tender strength,
  And pressed your heart exulting into mine.

How shall I with such memories of you
  In coarser forms of love fruition find?
No, I would rather like a ghost pursue
  The fairy phantoms of my lonely mind.

Published in Harlem Shadows

Any corrections or public domain poems I should have here? Email me at poems (at) this domain.