Flame-Heart Poem by Claude McKay


Rating: 2.8

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.

Clive Robinson 25 December 2009

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.

19 4 Reply
Junyah Grant 08 June 2009

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.

18 2 Reply
Michael Walker 17 March 2016

Excellent. M.Walker.

4 1 Reply
Michael Walker 17 March 2016

A trip down memory lane. M. Walker.

3 1 Reply
Oswald Thomas 15 October 2022

I get great joy to read this Poem my favourite from my High School days.

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Carol Spencer 05 January 2021

I learnt this poem many years ago at school in Jamaica, I eft Jamaica in 1964. I have always loved Claude Mckay's poetry absolutely wonderful, takes me back to my wonderful childhood years.

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Stanley Bajue 12 February 2019

Stll remember my 5 for twenty against Holmwood.

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Ron D Heaven 07 February 2019

Simple, poignant, painfully lovely

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Clive Broomfield 30 April 2018

so much have I forgotten in ten short years...

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