Black Woman

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Black Woman; by Leopold Senghor

Naked woman, black woman

Clothed with your colour which is life,
with your form which is beauty!

In your shadow I have grown up; the
gentleness of your hands was laid over my eyes.

And now, high up on the sun-baked
pass, at the heart of summer, at the heart of noon,
I come upon you, my Promised Land,
And your beauty strikes me to the heart
like the flash of an eagle.

Naked woman, dark woman

Firm-fleshed ripe fruit, sombre raptures
of black wine, mouth making lyrical my mouth
Savannah stretching to clear horizons,
savannah shuddering beneath the East Wind’s
eager caresses

Carved tom-tom, taut tom-tom, muttering
under the Conqueror’s fingers

Your solemn contralto voice is the
spiritual song of the Beloved.

Naked woman, dark woman

Oil that no breath ruffles, calm oil on the
athlete’s flanks, on the flanks of the Princes of…

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