North and South

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!

From Harlem Shadows (New York, Harcourt, Brace and company, 1922) by Claude McKay. This poem is in the public domain.