White Houses

written by Claude McKay

White Houses

— Claude McKay

Your door is shut against my tightened face,
And I am sharp as steel with discontent;
But I possess the courage and the grace
To bear my anger proudly and unbent.
The pavement slabs burn loose beneath my feet,
A chafing savage, down the decent street;
And passion rends my vitals as I pass,
Where boldly shines your shuttered door of glass.
Oh, I must search for wisdom every hour,
Deep in my wrathful bosom sore and raw,
And find in it the superhuman power
To hold me to the letter of your law!
Oh, I must keep my heart inviolate
Against the potent poison of your hate.

About the poet


Claude McKay

Claude McKay was a Jamaican-American writer and poet. He was a seminal figure in the Harlem Renaissance and wrote three novels: Home to Harlem (1928), a best-seller which won the Harmon Gold Award for Literature, Banjo (1929), and Banana Bottom (1933). McKay also authored a collection of short stories, Gingertown (1932), and two autobiographical books, A Long Way from Home (1937) and Harlem: Negro Metropolis (1940). His book of poetry, Harlem Shadows (1922) was among the first books published during the Harlem Renaissance. His book of collected poems, Selected Poems (1953), was published posthumously. McKay was attracted to communism in his early life, but he was never a member of the Communist Party. Early life Claude McKay was born Festus Claudius McKay in Nairne Castle near James Hill...

Read Full Biography

Poem of the Day

Golden Silence

Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

A word out of season
Of vapid unreason
May seem mere political twaddle at best;
But this thing needs abatement
If, with each wild statement
It mean's that a cool quarter million's gone West...

Read Full Poem

Poet of the Day

Hermann Hesse

Hermann Hesse was a German-Swiss poet, novelist, and painter. In 1946, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature. His best-known works include Steppenwolf, Siddhartha, and The Glass Bead Game (also known as Magister Ludi), each of which explores an individual's search...

Read Full Biography