Countee Cullen, "To a Brown Boy" (1923)
To beauty like a queen;
Lad, never dam your body's itch
When loveliness is seen.
For there is ample room for bliss
In pride in clean, brown limbs,
And lips know better how to kiss
Than how to raise white hymns.
And when your body's death gives birth
To soil for spring to crown,
Men will not ask if that rare earth
Was white flesh once, or brown.
Published in The Bookman, November 1923
Excerpted in The Crisis, January 1924
Also published in Color, 1925