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.
For the dim regions whence my fathers came
My spirit, bondaged by the body, longs.
Words felt, but never heard, my lips would frame;
My soul would sing forgotten jungle songs.
I would go back to darkness and to peace,
But the great western world holds me in fee,
And I may never hope for full release
While to its alien gods I bend my knee.
Something in me is lost, forever lost,
Some vital thing has gone out of my heart,
And I must walk the way of life a ghost
Among the sons of earth, a thing apart;
For I was born, far from my native clime,
Under the white man's menace, out of time.