Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, NEGRO GIRL, by IRENE COOPER ALLEN



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NEGRO GIRL, by            
First Line: Negro girl, - tall, dusky - skinned diana
Last Line: Ignorant, are you happy?
Subject(s): African Americans - Women; Cosmetics; Slavery; Serfs


Negro girl, -- tall, dusky-skinned Diana,
Molded in gleaming, darksome symmetry,
Full-hipped, full-bosomed, lithe of limb, and straight
As a young tree is straight, why do you seek
To hide, with a white woman's paints and dyes,
Your strange and natural beauty? Who has said
You have not loveliness? Who judged your race
And found it lacking? We who brought you here,
Unsprung as yet from those black, tortured folk,
Who in long, stumbling, sobbing, writhing chains,
Bound one unto the other, whipped and lashed,
Were dragged from out their jungle! What dark fires
Burn yet within you? What strange, thwarted dreams
Have passed, dark mother to dark daughter, till,
Unchanged by years, your own breast hoards them now?

What vast wrong have we done you that, today,
Free, you are yet our slaves? On every hand
We hurt you, tramp you, -- choosing not to see
The groping soul of your perverted race
Lying upon our hands. That injury
May never now be righted. . .

Negro girl,
Do flimsy, silken garments light your eyes?
Do paints and powders make you better reach
The realm of your white sister? And, I muse,
Ignorant, are you happy?





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