Waring Cuney, No Images as sung by Nina Simone

& other poems from Storefront Church

Waring Cuney (1906-1976)

pdf for Storefront Church (1973) from EPC Digital Library

No Images

She does not know
her beauty,
she thinks her brown body
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 dish water gives back
no images.


Nina Simone first version from Let It All Out (1964/1966):

 Holland, 1965 (start at 30 min.)

Nina Simone - Live in Holland 1965 from Nina Simone on Vimeo.



Cologne 1990 (fragment):

Sao Paulo, 2000, courtesy the fantastic Nina Simone YouTube channel:

from Waring Cuney, Storefront Church (20 pp.), Heritage Series 23 (London: Paul Breman, 1973). See also Lorenzo Thomas’s “Whose Images: Waring Cuney and the Harlem Renaissance Idea of the Poet’s Work,” in The Heritage Series of Black Poetry: 1962-1975, ed. Laura Ramey in consultation with Paul Breman. Poems here are from pp.10, 11and 12. "No Images" is on p. 7.

Down-home boy 

I'm a down-home boy
trying to get ahead.
It seems like I go
backwards instead.

Been in Chicago
over  year.
Had nothing down home,
not much here.

A measly job,
a greedy boss –
that's how come
I left Waycross

Those Great Lake winds
blow all around:
I'm a light-coat man
in a heavy-coat town.


Carry me back

Carry me back to old Virginia
      Magnolia blossoms fill the air
Carry me back to old Virginia:
     the only way you'll get me there.


Some folks hollered hard times
in nineteen-twenty-nine.
In nineteen-twenty-eight
say I was way behind.

Some folks hollered hard times
because hard times were new.
Hard times is all I ever had,
why should I lie to you?

Some folks hollered hard times.
What is it all about?
Things were bad for me when
those hard times started out.

 updated Sept. 8, 2016