Swift swallows sailing from the Spanish main,
O rain-birds racing merrily away
From hill-tops parched with heat and sultry plain
Of wilting plants and fainting flowers, say—
When at the noon-hour from the chapel school
The children dash and scamper down the dale,
Scornful of teacher's rod and binding rule
Forever broken and without avail,
Do they still stop beneath the giant tree
To gather locusts in their childish greed,
And chuckle when they break the pods to see
The golden powder clustered round the seed?
From Harlem Shadows (New York, Harcourt, Brace and company, 1922) by Claude McKay. This poem is in the public domain.