June poems and a Reminder, “Zoom” in Sunday to share your poetry with Angora Poets World Caffé

Photograph courtesy of Timothy Dykes, Unsplash

“Green was the silence, wet was the light,
the month of June trembled like a butterfly.”
Pablo Neruda, 100 Love Sonnets



A Memory of June

When June comes dancing o’er the death of May,
With scarlet roses tinting her green breast,
And mating thrushes ushering in her day,
And Earth on tiptoe for her golden guest,

I always see the evening when we met–
The first of June baptized in tender rain–
And walked home through the wide streets, gleaming wet,
Arms locked, our warm flesh pulsing with love’s pain.

I always see the cheerful little room,
And in the corner, fresh and white, the bed,
Sweet scented with a delicate perfume,
Wherein for one night only we were wed;

Where in the starlit stillness we lay mute,
And heard the whispering showers all night long,
And your brown burning body was a lute
Whereon my passion played his fevered song.

When June comes dancing o’er the death of May,
With scarlet roses staining her fair feet,
My soul takes leave of me to sing all day
A love so fugitive and so complete.

Claude McKay

Gloucester Moors

A mile behind is Gloucester town
Where the fishing fleets put in,
A mile ahead the land dips down
And the woods and farms begin.
Here, where the moors stretch free
In the high blue afternoon,
Are the marching sun and talking sea,
And the racing winds that wheel and flee
On the flying heels of June.

Jill-o’er-the-ground is purple blue,
Blue is the quaker-maid,
The wild geranium holds its dew
Long in the boulder’s shade.
Wax-red hangs the cup
From the huckleberry boughs,
In barberry bells the grey moths sup
Or where the choke-cherry lifts high up
Sweet bowls for their carouse.

Over the shelf of the sandy cove
Beach-peas blossom late.
By copse and cliff the swallows rove
Each calling to his mate.
Seaward the sea-gulls go,
And the land-birds all are here;
That green-gold flash was a vireo,
And yonder flame where the marsh-flags grow
Was a scarlet tanager.

This earth is not the steadfast place
We landsmen build upon;
From deep to deep she varies pace,
And while she comes is gone.
Beneath my feet I feel
Her smooth bulk heave and dip;
With velvet plunge and soft upreel
She swings and steadies to her keel
Like a gallant, gallant ship.

These summer clouds she sets for sail,
The sun is her masthead light,
She tows the moon like a pinnace frail
Where her phosphor wake churns bright.
Now hid, now looming clear,
On the face of the dangerous blue
The star fleets tack and wheel and veer,
But on, but on does the old earth steer
As if her port she knew.

God, dear God! Does she know her port,
Though she goes so far about?
Or blind astray, does she make her sport
To brazen and chance it out?
I watched when her captains passed:
She were better captainless.
Men in the cabin, before the mast,
But some were reckless and some aghast,
And some sat gorged at mess.

By her battened hatch I leaned and caught
Sounds from the noisome hold, —
Cursing and sighing of souls distraught
And cries too sad to be told.
Then I strove to go down and see;
But they said, “Thou art not of us!”
I turned to those on the deck with me
And cried, “Give help!” But they said, “Let be:
Our ship sails faster thus.”

Jill-o’er-the-ground is purple blue,
Blue is the quaker-maid,
The alder-clump where the brook comes through
Breeds cresses in its shade.
To be out of the moiling street
With its swelter and its sin!
Who has given to me this sweet,
And given my brother dust to eat?
And when will his wage come in?

Scattering wide or blown in ranks,
Yellow and white and brown,
Boats and boats from the fishing banks
Come home to Gloucester town.
There is cash to purse and spend,
There are wives to be embraced,
Hearts to borrow and hearts to lend,
And hearts to take and keep to the end, —
O little sails, make haste!

But thou, vast outbound ship of souls,
What harbor town for thee?
What shapes, when thy arriving tolls,
Shall crowd the banks to see?
Shall all the happy shipmates then
Stand singing brotherly?
Or shall a haggard ruthless few
Warp her over and bring her to,
While the many broken souls of men
Fester down in the slaver’s pen,
And nothing to say or do?

– William Vaughn Moody


Copyright Angora Poets World Cafe, Designer Mohammed Tariq Anis

“Poetry empowers the simplest of lives to confront the most extreme sorrows with courage, and motivates the mightiest of offices to humbly heed lessons in compassion.Aberjhani, Splendid Literarium: A Treasury of Stories, Aphorisms, Poems, and Essays



Angora Poets World Caffé. Sundays at 8 p.m. Paris time. Our mission is to demonstrate a global fraternity of literary and musical artists of divers styles and backgrounds. Under the nearly worldwide confinement the caffé is attracting artists who are now traversing borders and cultures. The caffé attracts poets, prose writers, singers and musicians from the 4 corners of our planet. To date we have presented artists from France, USA, U.K., Canada, Berlin, Serbia,Tibet, Sri Lanka, Lesotho, Sudan, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Abu Dhabi, Russia and China Our artists present mostly in English, French and Arabic. We also listen to participants voicing in a number of other languages which is very well received by our listeners. We ask of our artists to be developed, young and old, published and unpublished, so we enjoy a high caliber of artisan quality.” Founder and Moderator, Moe Seager (Moe Seager- Paris Calling)

This poetry reading is facilitated over Zoom. Connect with Moe on Facebook for details.


Jamie Dedes:

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Maintain the movement.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

Claude McKay, Gifted Writer of the Harlem Renaissance (1918-mid-1930s); “If We Must Die”

Photo of the poet, novelist and short story writer Claude McKay

“I know the dark delight of being strange, The penalty of difference in the crowd, The loneliness of wisdom among fools . . . ” Claude McKay



If We Must Die

If we must die, let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursèd lot.
If we must die, O let us nobly die,
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
O kinsmen! we must meet the common foe!
Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one death-blow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!

– Claude McKay

Mckay says of this sonnet that it is ” … a poem that makes me a poet among colored Americans.” Nonetheless, it is a poem that inspires many of the world’s peoples in their struggles for justice. Though The Poet by Day does not endorse violence, the poem is shared today because of  – among other things – its historic significance. It was published in the July 1919 issue of The Liberator. McKay wrote the poem as a response to mob attacks by white Americans upon African-American communities during Red Summer (1919). The poem was reprinted in The Messenger and the Workers’ Dreadnought (London) later that year. The poem was also read to Congress that year by Henry Cabot Lodge, the Republican Senator from Massachusetts. Wallace Thurman considered the poem as embodying the essence of the “New Negro*” movement as it was not aimed at arousing sympathy, but rather consisted of self-assertion. The poem was recited in the film August 28: A Day in the Life of a People and during Episode 3, Season 4 of The Man in the High Castle (TV series) (air date of November 15th, 2019) prior to a dangerous mission against an authoritarian regime. 

* “The New Negro”, a term of the Harlem Renaissance implying an assertive advocacy of dignity and a refusal to submit quietly to the practices and laws of Jim Crow racial segregation.  

Portrait of McKay in 1920 / Public Domain

CLAUDE McKAY (1889-1948) was a Jamaican writer and poet, a seminal figure in the Harlem Renaissance. He wrote five novels including: Home to Harlem (1928), a best-seller that won the Harmon Gold Award for Literature, Banjo (1929), Banana Bottom (1933), and in 1941 a manuscript called Amiable With Big Teeth: A Novel of the Love Affair Between the Communists and the Poor Black Sheep of Harlem which remained unpublished until 2017. McKay also authored collections of poetry, a collection of short stories, Gingertown (1932), two autobiographical books, A Long Way from Home (1937) and My Green Hills of Jamaica (published posthumously in 1979), and a non-fiction, socio-historical treatise entitled Harlem: Negro Metropolis (1940). His 1922 poetry collection, Harlem Shadows, was among the first books published during the Harlem Renaissance. His Selected Poems was published posthumously, in 1953.

McKay also wrote Romance in Marselle, recently unearthed after ninety years in archive and published this year by Penguin Classics. It ” traces the adventures of a rowdy troupe of dockworkers, prostitutes, and political organizers–collectively straight and queer, disabled and able-bodied, African, European, Caribbean, and American. Set largely in the culture-blending Vieux Port of Marseille at the height of the Jazz Age,” The publisher calls it, “The pioneering novel of physical disability, transatlantic travel, and black international politics. A vital document of black modernism and one of the earliest overtly queer fictions in the African American tradition.” McKay never came out but it is widely believed that he was bisexual.

McKay with Grigory Zinoviev and Nikolai Bukharin in 1923 / Public Domain

McKay was attracted to communism in his early life though he asserted that he never became a member of the Communist Party USA. Some scholars dispute this claim, due to his close ties to active members, his attendance at communist-led events, and his months-long stay in the Soviet Union in 1922–23, which he wrote about very favorably. Over time McKay became disillusioned with communism. By the mid-1930s had begun to write negatively about it. By the late 1930s his anti-Stalinism isolated him from other Harlem intellectuals. In 1942 he converted to Catholicism and left Harlem. He worked for a Catholic organization until his death.

This post was complied with material from my bookshelf, Wikipedia, Amazon, and YouTube. I believe that McKay’s poems are all in the public domain at this point.  HIs U.S. Amazon Page is HERE.


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Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

The Poet by Day officially endorses Bernie Sanders for President.

The New New Deal

Link HERE for Bernie’s schedule of events around the country.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton