African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology

Countee Cullen, "The Dance of Love (After reading René Maran's 'Batouala')" (1923)

All night we danced upon our windy hill,
Your dress a cloud of tangled midnight hair,
And love was much too much for me to wear
My leaves; the killer roared above his kill,
But you danced on, and when some star would spill
Its red and white upon you whirling there,
I sensed a hidden beauty in the air;
Though you danced on, my heart and I stood still,

But suddenly a bit of morning crept
Along your trembling sides of ebony;
I saw the tears your tired limbs had wept,
And how your breasts heaved high, how languidly
Your dark arms moved; I drew you close to me;
We flung ourselves upon our hill and slept.

Published in Opportunity Magazine, April 1923
Also published in Color, 1925


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