Countee Cullen was an American poet who was a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance.
Countee Cullen was possibly born on May 30, although due to conflicting accounts of his early life, a general application of the year of his birth as 1903 is reasonable. He was either born in New York, Baltimore, or Lexington, Kentucky, with his widow being convinced he was born in Lexington. Cullen was possibly abandoned by his mother, and reared by a woman named Mrs. Porter, who was probably his paternal grandmother. Porter brought young Countee to Harlem when he was nine. She died in 1918. No known reliable information exists of his childhood until 1918 when he was ... more »
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Countee Cullen Poems
Once riding in old Baltimore, Heart-filled, head-filled with glee, I saw a Baltimorean Keep looking straight at me.
A Brown Girl Dead
With two white roses on her breasts, White candles at head and feet, Dark Madonna of the grave she rests; Lord Death has found her sweet.
Dead men are wisest, for they know How far the roots of flowers go, How long a seed must rot to grow.
What is Africa to me: Copper sun or scarlet sea, Jungle star or jungle track, Strong bronzed men, or regal black
Fruit of the Flower
My father is a quiet man With sober, steady ways; For simile, a folded fan; His nights are like his days.
From the Dark Tower
We shall not always plant while others reap The golden increment of bursting fruit, Not always countenance, abject and mute, That lesser men should hold their brothers cheap;
Some are teethed on a silver spoon, With the stars strung for a rattle; I cut my teeth as the black racoon-- For implements of battle.
The Loss of Love
All through an empty place I go, And find her not in any room; The candles and the lamps I light Go down before a wind of gloom.
Yet Do I Marvel
I doubt not God is good, well-meaning, kind And did He stoop to quibble could tell why The little buried mole continues blind, Why flesh that mirrors Him must some day die,
For A Lady I Know
She even thinks that up in heaven Her class lies late and snores While poor black cherubs rise at seven
For A Poet
I have wrapped my dreams in a silken cloth, And laid them away in a box of gold; Where long will cling the lips of the moth, I have wrapped my dreams in a silken cloth;
The Shroud of Color
"Lord, being dark," I said, "I cannot bear The further touch of earth, the scented air; Lord, being dark, forewilled to that despair My color shrouds me in, I am as dirt
Simon the Cyrenian Speaks
He never spoke a word to me, And yet He called my name; He never gave a sign to me, And yet I knew and came.
To Certain Critics
Then call me traitor if you must, Shout reason and default! Say I betray a sacred trust Aching beyond this vault.
Comments about Countee Cullen
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)
Once riding in old Baltimore,
Heart-filled, head-filled with glee,
I saw a Baltimorean
Keep looking straight at me.
Now I was eight and very small,
And he was no whit bigger,
And so I smiled, but he poked out
His tongue, and called me, 'Nigger.'
I saw the whole of Baltimore
From May until December;
Of all the things that happened there
That's all that I remember.