by: Claude McKay (1890-1948)
- IS spirit
is smoke ascended to high heaven.
- His father, by the cruelest way of pain,
- Had bidden him to his bosom once again;
- The awful sin remained still unforgiven.
- All night a bright and solitary star
- (Perchance the one that ever guided him,
- Yet gave him up at last to Fate's wild whim)
- Hung pitifully o'er the swinging char.
- Day dawned, and soon the mixed crowds came to view
- The ghastly body swaying in the sun:
- The women thronged to look, but never a one
- Showed sorrow in her eyes of steely blue;
- And little lads, lynchers that were to be,
- Danced round the dreadful thing in fiendish glee.
POEMS BY CLAUDE MCKAY
"The Lynching" is reprinted
from Harlem Shadows. Claude McKay. New York: Harcourt,
Brace and Company, 1922.