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About this Poem 

“Comrades Four” was first published in Constab Ballads (Watts, 1912). 

Comrades Four

Dear comrades, my comrades,
    My heart is always true;
An’ ever an’ ever
    I shall remember you.

We all joined together,
    Together joined we four;
An’ I have been first to
    Pass t’rough the open door.

We four drilled together,
    Together drilled we all;
An’ I’ve been the first to
    Flee from the life o’ gall.

We parted, dear comrades,
    We parted all in tears,
An’ each went his own way
    To shoulder life’s sad cares.

O comrades, my comrades,
    What is de lasting gain,
But all t’rough de tempest
    A heart of unmixed pain?

My comrades, loved comrades,
    I hear your bitter cry;
But life’s pain will end, boys,
    Will end yet—by an’ by.
 

This poem is in the public domain. 

This poem is in the public domain. 

Claude McKay

Claude McKay

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.

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There was a time when in late afternoon
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And in the open spaces I could sleep,
    Half-naked to the shining worlds above;
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Some day, when trees have shed their leaves
    And against the morning’s white
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We’ll turn our faces southward, love,
    Toward the summer isle
Where bamboos spire to shafted grove
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Your door is shut against my tightened face,
And I am sharp as steel with discontent;
But I possess the courage and the grace
To bear my anger proudly and unbent.
The pavement slabs burn loose beneath my feet,
And passion rends my vitals as I pass,
A chafing savage, down the decent street;
Where boldly shines