Treasure Island

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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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;
Not everlastingly while others sleep
Shall we beguile their limbs with mellow flute,
Not always bend to some more subtle brute;
We were not made to eternally weep.
The night whose sable breast relieves the stark,

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