Karl Shapiro

The White Negress

                                    Brancusi—Chicago Art Institute

Who has not seen Brancusi’s White Negress?
O quarryman who cut her from the mountain,
Did you see her breathing in the mountain?
Geology, what did you have in mind!

Slightly smaller than life, her head
Stands up like a magnolia bud
In snowy marble,
With a little marble ribbon tying her hair in the back,
Matching her slightly spread nose
And her pretty protruding lips,
The White Negress in all her marble beauty,
So black, so white!