African American Poetry: If we must die…

Posted: September 14, 2011 in African American, culture, personal, poetry
Tags: , , , , , , ,

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 accursed 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 deathblow!
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

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Comments
  1. love it…especially,

    “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!”

    • mayotron says:

      I think it’s all about “poetic vision”. Mckay had a great way of tapping into the “poetic vision. He wrote this during a time when blacks were suffering from race riots and mob violence. It takes a poetic vision to make something noble out of senseless death.

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