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Alfonso, Dressing to Wait at Table

by Claude McKay, 1922

Alfonso is a handsome bronze-hued lad
  Of subtly-changing and surprising parts;
His moods are storms that frighten and make glad,
  His eyes were made to capture women's hearts.

Down in the glory-hole Alfonso sings
  An olden song of wine and clinking glasses
And riotous rakes; magnificently flings
  Gay kisses to imaginary lasses.

Alfonso's voice of mellow music thrills
  Our swaying forms and steals our hearts with joy;
And  when he soars, his fine falsetto trills
  Are rarest notes of gold without alloy.

But, O  Alfonso! wherefore do you sing
  Dream-songs of carefree men and ancient places?
Soon we shall be beset by clamouring
  Of hungry and importunate palefaces.

Published in Harlem Shadows

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