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The Painting of a Black Woman

Ward Barry
Ward Barry


I once painted a black woman naked;
kaukau in her hand, the earth for her bed.
I dabbed a little kabang on her cheeks
and made her mind strong but left her mouth meek.

I took her to the market to be sold.
The price I demanded was neither gold
nor silver but that she be untampered:
her eyes brown, hands green and heart still coloured.

I gave her as a gift to the masta
and that day I became a kanaka.
His smoke tainted her mind, her lips white-glossed;
she chewed papers and her cow cow was lost.

I saw her at the mall, gold in her hand.
She speaks a talk-place I don’t understand.


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