Verse > Anthologies > James Weldon Johnson, ed. > The Book of American Negro Poetry
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James Weldon Johnson, ed. (1871–1938).  The Book of American Negro Poetry.  1922.
 
Zalka Peetruza
 
Ray G. Dandridge
 
 
(Who Was Christened Lucy Jane)
 
 
SHE danced, near nude, to tom-tom beat,
With swaying arms and flying feet,
’Mid swirling spangles, gauze and lace,
Her all was dancing—save her face.
 
A conscience, dumb to brooding fears,        5
Companioned hearing deaf to cheers;
A body, marshalled by the will,
Kept dancing while a heart stood still:
 
And eyes obsessed with vacant stare,
Looked over heads to empty air,        10
As though they sought to find therein
Redemption for a maiden sin.
 
’Twas thus, amid force driven grace,
We found the lost look on her face;
And then, to us, did it occur        15
That, though we saw—we saw not her.
 

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