Countee Cullen – A Song of Praise

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(For one who praised his lady's being fair)

You have not heard my love's dark throat
Slow-fluting like a reed,
Release the perfect golden note
She caged there for my need.

Her walk is like the replica
Of some barbaric dance
Wherein the soul of Africa
Is winged with arrogance.

And yet so light she steps across
The ways her sure feet pass,
She does not dent the smoothest moss
Or bend the thinnest grass.

My love is dark as yours is fair,
Yet lovelier I hold her
Than listless maids with pallid hair
And blood that's thin and colder.


You-proud-and-to-be-pitied one,
Gaze on her and despair,
Then seal your lips until the sun
Discovers one as fair.

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