Claude McKay

(15 September 1889 – 22 May 1948 / Clarendon)

Enslaved - Poem by Claude McKay

Oh when I think of my long-suffering race,
For weary centuries despised, oppressed,
Enslaved and lynched, denied a human place
In the great life line of the Christian West;
And in the Black Land disinherited,
Robbed in the ancient country of its birth,
My heart grows sick with hate, becomes as lead,
For this my race that has no home on earth.
Then from the dark depths of my soul I cry
To the avenging angel to consume
The white man's world of wonders utterly:
Let it be swallowed up in earth's vast womb,
Or upward roll as sacrificial smoke
To liberate my people from its yoke!

Comments about Enslaved by Claude McKay

  • (3/13/2018 8:01:00 AM)

    When you have carried the chains and bonds of Slavery maybe one can be so naive and stupid to talk of blame - this was the reality of the lives of black people and to dismiss it as merely perfunctory tells me stance on Equality and whether black lives are as valuable as yours - (Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Bill Cantrell (3/18/2016 8:05:00 AM)

    such a shame to carry such hatred, to blame everyone for the acts of some, such a pity. (Report)Reply

    (4/12/2016 2:21:00 AM)

    do you expect him to accept them with open arms. '' acts of some'' it was the majority of the white race. Wasn't it a shame how African Americans were ridiculed and oppressed everyday because of their skin. ''all'' of them were considered minorities. He has a right to hate them.

    11 person liked.
    17 person did not like.
  • Susan Williams (3/17/2016 3:32:00 PM)

    I read the biography on McKay's page and it was exceedingly interesting. I admire his writing skills but I cannot admire hatred as a response to hatred, violence as a response to violence, inhumanity as a response to inhumanity.. Humanity cannot be improved by generations copying the evils of the preceding generations. Now I will be disliked for speaking my heart as he spoke his. (Report)Reply

    28 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • (3/17/2016 11:38:00 AM)

    The sufferings of the race of the poet for number of generations and it's oppression has given an acrimonious tone to the most touching and sentimental poem. Thanks for sharing.10 +++ (Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    9 person did not like.
  • Kim Barney (3/17/2016 8:29:00 AM)

    Whoa! This is a very strong statement, wishing the white man's world to be consumed utterly. I guess a history of injustice can do that to a person. (Report)Reply

    12 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Paul Reed (3/17/2016 4:30:00 AM)

    Inspired by this poem I read 'Flame-Heart' by the same poet, now in my favourite poems list. (Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Edward Kofi Louis (3/17/2016 3:03:00 AM)

    My long-suffering race! Nice work. (Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • Moira Cameron (3/17/2016 2:11:00 AM)

    Very inspirational words. The longing comes through in lines like 'my race that has no home on earth' - it is a king of longing that not many of us can really understand. But in this poem, the feeling becomes understood. (Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • (5/10/2007 1:57:00 AM)

    We often hang our heads when things make us sad to painful to speak of. The voice in this poem speaks of a time when slavery happen to America. Happen to the African me.

    LHPS of Pittsburgh

    32 person liked.
    51 person did not like.
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Read poems about / on: sick, angel, birth, hate, people, home, dark, world, heart, life

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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