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No Images -- William Waring Cuney

Guest poem sent in by Vidur
(Poem #1237) No Images
 She does not know
 Her beauty,
 She thinks her brown skin
 Has no glory.
 If she could dance
 Under palm trees
 And see her image in the river
 She would know.

 But there are no palm trees
 On the street,
 And dishwater gives back no images.
-- William Waring Cuney
i first heard this poem on the album 'nina simone sings nina' - she
"sang" it without any instrumental accompaniment, her powerful and
distinctive voice bringing a poignancy to the lyrics. her song is
titled 'images.'

i don't know anything of waring cuney other than that he came out of
the harlem rennaissance. nina simone, however, i know a little more
about, and it was with some sadness that i read in the news that she
had passed away.

although nina simone is often referred to as a jazz and blues singer,
she is far too versatile to be squeezed into any category. in her raspy
(and undeniably sexy) voice she did definitive cover versions of some
very popular songs (she nearly moved me to tears with her rendition of
brel's 'ne me quitte pas').

nina simone was a powerful voice in the civil rights struggle, or as
she liked to say "for her people." she wrote and sang some of her best
songs in response to socio-political events in the 60s - 'mississipi
goddam', 'four women', and 'why?' (on the assassination of mlk jr.) to
name a few.

i think it's fair to say that nina was the last of the great black


Here's a biography:
  [broken link]

151 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Saurabi said...

Pretty much like the city life, on these times you can see what see what the poem says.
Thanks for sharing.

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Anonymous said...

The poet knows that this negro woman is beautiful and should have pride, however, adapting to a white society has not not only caused her to become unaware of her beauty, it has also caused her to lose her true identity and denigrate herself. It would be much different for her if she was in a place such as Africa or the Carribean, where she would be accepted for who she is by women like her who set the standards fr beauty. She would perhaps have a much clearer 'image' of herself, reflected back by society, but unfortunately this seems unattainable, as she is ignored by society due to white dominance.

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