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African American Dandy | by Climbing Kilimanjaro
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African American Dandy

To Beauty by Langston Hughes

 

At the alter of Beauty,

To feel her loveliness and pain,

To thrill

At the wonder of her gorgeous moon

Or the sharp, swift, silver swords

Of falling rain.

 

To walk in a golden garden

When an autumn sun

Has almost set,

When near-night's purple splendor

Shimmers to a star-shine net.

To worship

At the altar of Beauty

Is a pleasure divine,

 

Not given to the many many

But to fools

Who drink Beauty's wine.

Not given to the many many

But to fools

Who seek no other goddess

Nor grapes

Plucked from another's

Vine.

 

The poem has an undertone of homo-eroticism in the love and admiration shown to other men of African descent. "To worship at the alter of beauty" is a metaphor or common Jazz age euphemism for that very personal and private activity shared by gay men. Hughes,in his life and work, expressed a desire and preference for other men of African descent. He saw their beauty, especially the beauty in those of very dark-complexion. Black gay men often forget how handsome they are in all their variety

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Taken on July 29, 2010