To O. E. A.
Your voice is the color of a robin’s breast,
And there’s a sweet sob in it like rain—still rain in the night.
Among the leaves of the trumpet-tree, close to his nest,
The pea-dove sings, and each note thrills me with strange delight
Like the words, wet with music, that well from your trembling throat.
I’m afraid of your eyes, they’re so bold,
Searching me through, reading my thoughts, shining like gold.
But sometimes they are gentle and soft like the dew on the lips of the eucharis
Before the sun comes warm with his lover’s kiss,
You are sea-foam, pure with the star’s loveliness,
Not mortal, a flower, a fairy, too fair for the beauty-shorn earth,
All wonderful things, all beautiful things, gave of their wealth to your birth:
O I love you so much, not recking of passion, that I feel it is wrong,
But men will love you, flower, fairy, non-mortal spirit burdened with flesh,
This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on February 16, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.
About this Poem
“To O. E. A.” appeared in The Book of American Negro Poetry (Harcourt, Brace and Co, 1922).
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: 1922-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/o-e