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The Harlem Dancer

  1. Applauding youths laughed with young prostitutes

  2. And watched her perfect, half-clothed body sway;

  3. Her voice was like the sound of blended flutes

  4. Blown by black players upon a picnic day.

  5. She sang and danced on gracefully and calm,

  6. The light gauze hanging loose about her form;

  7. To me she seemed a proudly-swaying palm

  8. Grown lovelier for passing through a storm.

  9. Upon her swarthy neck black , shiny curls

  10. Luxuriant Profusely fell; and , tossing coins in praise,

  11. The wine-flushed, bold-eyed boys, and even the girls,

  12. Devoured her shape with eager, passionate gaze;:

  13. But , looking at her falsely-smiling face,

  14. I knew her self was not in that strange place.


Harlem Shadows (1922)

Additional Poems by Claude McKay

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