To One Coming North

At first you’ll joy to see the playful snow,
         Like white moths trembling on the tropic air,
Or waters of the hills that softly flow
         Gracefully falling down a shining stair.

And when the fields and streets are covered white
         And the wind-worried void is chilly, raw,
Or underneath a spell of heat and light
         The cheerless frozen spots begin to thaw,

Like me you’ll long for home, where birds’ glad song
         Means flowering lanes and leas and spaces dry,
And tender thoughts and feelings fine and strong,
         Beneath a vivid silver-flecked blue sky.

But oh! more than the changeless southern isles,
         When Spring has shed upon the earth her charm,
You'll love the Northland wreathed in golden smiles
         By the miraculous sun turned glad and warm.

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