Countee Cullen

(30 May 1903 – 9 January 1946 / New York)

Quotations

  • ''All day long and all night through,
    One thing only must I do:
    Quench my pride and cool my blood,
    Lest I perish in the flood.''
    Countee Cullen (1903-1946), U.S. poet. Heritage (l. 116-119). . . My Soul's High Song; the Collected Writings of Countee Cullen, Voice of the Harlem Renaissance. É Gerald Early, ed. (1991) Doubleday.
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  • ''What is last year's snow to me,
    Last year's anything? The tree
    Budding yearly must forget
    How its past arose or set—''
    Countee Cullen (1903-1946), U.S. poet. Heritage (l. 52-55). . . My Soul's High Song; the Collected Writings of Countee Cullen, Voice of the Harlem Renaissance. É Gerald Early, ed. (1991) Doubleday.
  • ''Lord, I fashion dark gods, too,
    Daring even to give You
    Dark despairing features''
    Countee Cullen (1903-1946), U.S. poet. Heritage (l. 107-108). . . My Soul's High Song; the Collected Writings of Countee Cullen, Voice of the Harlem Renaissance. É Gerald Early, ed. (1991) Doubleday.
  • ''What is Africa to me:
    Copper sun or scarlet sea,
    Jungle star or jungle track,
    Strong bronzed men, or regal black
    Women from whose loins I sprang
    When the birds of Eden sang?''
    Countee Cullen (1903-1946), U.S. poet. Heritage (l. 1-6). . . My Soul's High Song; the Collected Writings of Countee Cullen, Voice of the Harlem Renaissance. É Gerald Early, ed. (1991) Doubleday.
  • ''Not yet has my heart or head
    In the least way realized
    They and I are civilized.''
    Countee Cullen (1903-1946), U.S. poet. Heritage (l. 125-127). . . My Soul's High Song; the Collected Writings of Countee Cullen, Voice of the Harlem Renaissance. É Gerald Early, ed. (1991) Doubleday.
  • ''Africa? A book one thumbs
    Listlessly, till slumber comes.''
    Countee Cullen (1903-1946), U.S. poet. Heritage (l. 31-32). . . My Soul's High Song; the Collected Writings of Countee Cullen, Voice of the Harlem Renaissance. É Gerald Early, ed. (1991) Doubleday.
  • ''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."''
    Countee Cullen (1903-1946), U.S. poet. Incident (l. 5-8). . . My Soul's High Song; the Collected Writings of Countee Cullen, Voice of the Harlem Renaissance. É Gerald Early, ed. (1991) Doubleday.
  • ''Dame Poverty gave me my name,
    And Pain godfathered me.''
    Countee Cullen (1903-1946), U.S. poet. Saturday's Child (l. 11-12). . . My Soul's High Song; the Collected Writings of Countee Cullen, Voice of the Harlem Renaissance. É Gerald Early, ed. (1991) Doubleday.
  • ''Death cut the strings that gave me life,
    And handed me to Sorrow,
    The only kind of middle wife
    My folks could beg or borrow.''
    Countee Cullen (1903-1946), U.S. poet. Saturday's Child (l. 17-20). . . My Soul's High Song; the Collected Writings of Countee Cullen, Voice of the Harlem Renaissance. É Gerald Early, ed. (1991) Doubleday.
  • ''I cut my teeth as the black raccoon—
    For implements of battle.''
    Countee Cullen (1903-1946), U.S. poet. Saturday's Child (l. 3-4). . . My Soul's High Song; the Collected Writings of Countee Cullen, Voice of the Harlem Renaissance. É Gerald Early, ed. (1991) Doubleday.

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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.
My mother's life is puritan,
No hint of cavalier,
A pool so calm you're sure it can
Have little depth to fear.

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