The School Bag

The Harlem Dancer

Claude McKay
Applauding youths laughed with young prostitutes	
And watched her perfect, half-clothed body sway;	
Her voice was like the sound of blended flutes	
Blown by black players upon a picnic day.	
She sang and danced on gracefully and calm,	       
The light gauze hanging loose about her form;	
To me she seemed a proudly-swaying palm	
Grown lovelier for passing through a storm.	
Upon her swarthy neck black, shiny curls	
Luxuriant fell; and tossing coins in praise,	       
The wine-flushed, bold-eyed boys, and even the girls,	
Devoured her shape with eager, passionate gaze;	
But, looking at her falsely-smiling face	
I knew her self was not in that strange place.