Claude McKay

(15 September 1889 – 22 May 1948 / Clarendon)

Flame-Heart


So much have I forgotten in ten years,
So much in ten brief years! I have forgot
What time the purple apples come to juice,
And what month brings the shy forget-me-not.
I have forgot the special, startling season
Of the pimento's flowering and fruiting;
What time of year the ground doves brown the fields
And fill the noonday with their curious fluting.
I have forgotten much, but still remember
The poinsettia's red, blood-red in warm December.
I still recall the honey-fever grass,
But cannot recollect the high days when
We rooted them out of the ping-wing path
To stop the mad bees in the rabbit pen.
I often try to think in what sweet month
The languid painted ladies used to dapple
The yellow by-road mazing from the main,
Sweet with the golden threads of the rose-apple.
I have forgotten--strange--but quite remember
The poinsettia's red, blood-red in warm December.

What weeks, what months, what time of the mild year
We cheated school to have our fling at tops?
What days our wine-thrilled bodies pulsed with joy
Feasting upon blackberries in the copse?
Oh some I know! I have embalmed the days,
Even the sacred moments when we played,
All innocent of passion, uncorrupt,
At noon and evening in the flame-heart's shade.
We were so happy, happy, I remember,
Beneath the poinsettia's red in warm December.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Rookie Clive Robinson (12/25/2009 5:54:00 PM)

    This poem brings back memories - Strange, but still remember the beating the entire grade 5 class of 74' @ St. Judes Primary (Jamaica) would get for not reciting it properly with expression and all. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Junyah Grant (6/8/2009 5:40:00 AM)

    I learnt this poem as child in jamaica over thirty- five years ago. It brings back so many memories. Claude Mcakay always rekindles my love of nostalgic poems. (Report) Reply

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