William Waring Cuney (May 6, 1906 – June 30, 1976) was a poet of the Harlem Renaissance. He is best known for his poem "No Images," which has been widely anthologized.
William Waring Cuney was one of a pair of twins born on May 6, 1906, in Washington D.C. His father, Norris Wright Cuney II, worked for the federal government. His mother, Madge Louise Baker, taught in the D.C. public school system. Cuney attended the D.C. public schools, graduating from Armstrong High School. He attended Howard University for a time before earning his B.A. at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. He also studied at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston and the Conservatory of Music in Rome.
She does not know
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
Palm : an unbranched evergreen tree with a crown of long feathered or fan-shaped leaves, and typically having old leaf scars forming a regular pattern on the trunk. Palms grow in warm regions, especially the tropics.
Image : a representation of the external form of a person or thing in art
Glory : high renown or honor won by notable achievements