Joy in the Woods
There is joy in the woods just now, The leaves are whispers of song, And the birds make mirth on the bough And music the whole day long, And God! to dwell in the town In these springlike summer days, On my brow an unfading frown And hate in my heart always— A machine out of gear, aye, tired, Yet forced to go on—for I’m hired. Just forced to go on through fear, For every day I must eat And find ugly clothes to wear, And bad shoes to hurt my feet And a shelter for work-drugged sleep! A mere drudge! but what can one do? A man that’s a man cannot weep! Suicide? A quitter? Oh, no! But a slave should never grow tired, Whom the masters have kindly hired. But oh! for the woods, the flowers Of natural, sweet perfume, The heartening, summer showers And the smiling shrubs in bloom, Dust-free, dew-tinted at morn, The fresh and life-giving air, The billowing waves of corn And the birds’ notes rich and clear:— For a man-machine toil-tired May crave beauty too—though he’s hired.
This poem is in the public domain.
Claude McKay, who was born in Jamaica in 1889, wrote about social and political concerns from his perspective as a black man in the United States, as well as a variety of subjects ranging from his Jamaican homeland to romantic love.
Date Published: 1920-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/joy-woods