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Sonnet To A Negro In Harlem

You are disdainful and magnificent--
Your perfect body and your pompous gait,
Your dark eyes flashing solemnly with hate;
Small wonder that you are incompetent
To imitate those whom you so dispise--
Your shoulders towering high above the throng,
Your head thrown back in rich, barbaric song,
Palm trees and manoes stretched before your eyes.
Let others toil and sweat for labor's sake
And wring from grasping hands their meed of gold.
Why urge ahead your supercilious feet?
Scorn will efface each footprint that you make.
I love your laughter, arrogant and bold.
You are too splendid for this city street!

Written by Helene Johnson (1906-1995)


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