Verse > Anthologies > James Weldon Johnson, ed. > The Book of American Negro Poetry
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James Weldon Johnson, ed. (1871–1938).  The Book of American Negro Poetry.  1922.
 
The Barrier
 
Claude McKay (1890–1948)
 
 
I MUST not gaze at them although
  Your eyes are dawning day;
I must not watch you as you go
  Your sun-illumined way;
 
I hear but I must never heed        5
  The fascinating note,
Which, fluting like a river-reed,
  Comes from your trembling throat;
 
I must not see upon your face
  Love’s softly glowing spark;        10
For there’s the barrier of race,
  You’re fair and I am dark.
 

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