Thursday, February 5, 2009

Claude McKay (1890-1948)

The Harlem Dancer

Applauding youths laughed with young prostitutes
And watched her perfect, half-clothed body sway;
Her voice was like the sound of blended flutes
Blown by black players on a picnic day.
She sang and danced on gracefully and calm,
The light gauze hanging loose from her form;
To me she seemed a proudly-swaying palm
Grown lovlier for passing through a storm.
Upon her swarthy neck black shiny curls
Luxuriant fell; and tossing coins in praise,
The wine-flushed, bold-eyed boys and even the girls,
Devoured her shape with  eager, passionate gaze;
But looking at her falsely-smiling face,
I knew her self was not in that strange place.

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