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The Barrier

by Claude McKay, 1922

I must not gaze at them although
  Your eyes are dawning day;
I must not watch you as you go
  Your sun-illumined way;

I hear but I must never heed
  The fascinating note,
Which, fluting like a river reed,
  Comes from your trembing throat;

I must not see upon your face
  Love's softly glowing spark;
For there's the barrier of race,
  You're fair and I am dark.

Published in Harlem Shadows
Published in The Book of American Negro Poetry
Tags: heartache

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