by Claude McKay
A Although she feeds me bread of bitterness,
B And sinks into my throat her tiger's tooth,
A Stealing my breath of life, I will confess
B I love this cultured hell that tests my youth!
C Her vigor flows like tides into my blood,
D Giving me strength erect against her hate.
C Her bigness sweeps my being like a flood.
D Yet as a rebel fronts a king in state,
E I stand within her walls with not a shred
F Of terror, malice, not a word of jeer.
E Darkly I gaze into the days ahead,
F And see her might and granite wonders there,
G Beneath the touch of Time's unerring hand,
G Like priceless treasures sinking in the sand.
The letters at the beginning of the line are there only as tablature for the rhyme scheme.
Themes: strength; challenge; Love/Hate; struggle; power; bravery; fierceness; strengthening submission; rebellion; committment
Notes: The last two lines are a "rhyming couplet;" there's a fragment of a narrative; and a helluva lot of oxymorons and metaphors.
The Dee S. Commentary:
In Claude McKay's sonnet, "America," the author personifies America as a Dominant Lover. He uses heavy sexual imagery to relate the strength he gained through submitting his being to her taunts and trials.
He stands before his lover saluting her GrandNess, giving up his strength to enjoin hers, taking serenity in her rule.
He sees in her eyes, though, a bold spirit showing signs of gentle wear from time and a life of molding empassioned young men such as he. "Someday, she'll naught be but a 'pricless treasure' buried deep in the subconsciousness government of my actions," he reflects.
And suddenly, he gasps, as she steals his breath away yet again with a piercing bite on his neck. He struggles only in order to submit yet again.
Node your homework, baby!