The Tropics in New York (A Poem by Claude McKay)

Bananas ripe and green, and ginger-root,
Cocoa in pods and alligator pears,
And tangerines and mangoes and grape fruit,
Fit for the highest prize at parish fairs,

Set in the window, bringing memories
Of fruit-laden trees by low-singing rills,
And dewy dawns, and mystical blue skies
In benediction over nun-like hills.

My eyes grow dim, and I could no more gaze;
A wave of longing through my body swept,
And,hungry for the old, familiar ways,
I turned aside and bowed my head and wept.

This poem is in a section of The Penguin Book of Migrant Literature focusing on the experience of leaving home that launches every migrant’s journey.

For reflection in solitude or in the company of others: Exile,exodus and homecoming are powerful Biblical themes. Are the feelings of loss and longing woven into this work familiar to you? How do such feelings resonate with a changing relationship with God, or with the Church? Commentary on the poem suggests that a supportive community of other people on a similar path, as well as personal patience during “an adaptation [that is] gradual and nonlinear” can ease the transition from one home-place to another. What else would you add to this list?

Cathedral of the Incarnation