Gay little Girl-of-the-Diving-Tank, I desire a name for you, Nice, as a right glove fits; For you—who amid the malodorous Mechanics of this unlovely thing, Are darling of spirit and form. I know you—a glance, and what you are Sits-by-the-fire in my heart. My Limousine-Lady knows you, or Why does the slant-envy of her eye mark Your straight air and radiant inclusive smile? Guilt pins a fig-leaf; Innocence is its own adorning. The bull-necked man knows you—this first time His itching flesh sees form divine and vibrant health And thinks not of his avocation. I came incuriously— Set on no diversion save that my mind Might safely nurse its brood of misdeeds In the presence of a blind crowd. The color of life was gray. Everywhere the setting seemed right For my mood. Here the sausage and garlic booth Sent unholy incense skyward; There a quivering female-thing Gestured assignations, and lied To call it dancing; There, too, were games of chance With chances for none; But oh! Girl-of-the-Tank, at last! Gleaming Girl, how intimately pure and free The gaze you send the crowd, As though you know the dearth of beauty In its sordid life. We need you—my Limousine-Lady, The bull-necked man and I. Seeing you here brave and water-clean, Leaven for the heavy ones of earth, I am swift to feel that what makes The plodder glad is good; and Whatever is good is God. The wonder is that you are here; I have seen the queer in queer places, But never before a heaven-fed Naiad of the Carnival-Tank! Little Diver, Destiny for you, Like as for me, is shod in silence; Years may seep into your soul The bacilli of the usual and the expedient; I implore Neptune to claim his child to-day!
Anne Spencer - 1882-1975
We trekked into a far country, My friend and I. Our deeper content was never spoken, But each knew all the other said. He told me how calm his soul was laid By the lack of anvil and strife. "The wooing kestrel," I said, "mutes his mating-note To please the harmony of this sweet silence." And when at the day's end We laid tired bodies 'gainst The loose warm sands, And the air fleeced its particles for a coverlet; When star after star came out To guard their lovers in oblivion— My soul so leapt that my evening prayer Stole my morning song!