Countee Cullen

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

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.

Her mother pawned her wedding ring
To lay her out in white;
She'd be so proud she'd dance and sing
to see herself tonight.

Submitted: Monday, October 06, 2003
# 298 poem on top 500 Poems


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Comments about this poem (A Brown Girl Dead by Countee Cullen )

  • Silver Star - 3,407 Points Pranab K Chakraborty (1/23/2015 11:54:00 PM)

    It is more than beauty the sense of my dancing facing me alone. Only death could offer us such opportunity. Poet has oriented the beauty with unique sophistication simply with the objects two flowers and candle. Can't I felt while reading the dead is naked with every skin and flesh. It's classic art of representation, perhaps. (Report) Reply

  • Bronze Star - 2,188 Points John Richter (1/23/2015 6:26:00 AM)

    Incredibly sad this - but also incredibly touching. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 9,405 Points Rajnish Manga (1/23/2015 3:29:00 AM)

    Through this small but sweet poem the poet has paid rich tributes to a poor girl who died very young. The emotion scene before she is laid to rest is extremely moving. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Andrea Ribeiro (11/29/2010 6:30:00 AM)

    It is really sad how black women could be so mistreated along the world history... (Report) Reply

  • Silver Star - 3,478 Points Is It Poetry (7/4/2009 2:43:00 PM)

    it is an excellent tribute to she whom walks in flames and hides a soul of white..iip (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 0 Points Kainwo Moses (6/1/2009 6:45:00 PM)

    Many indeed wait for the occasion of death to express their love. This is so true of my Africa. Cullen has done a great job here but I wonder how many will see this poem... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Milena Kubicka (7/10/2008 7:39:00 AM)

    Why some of us care more of the dead than of the living?
    Flowers at the funeral? Yes. A new dress? Yes.
    But we often forget to offer a living preson his/her anniversary gift or flower, not to mention the no-occasion ones.

    Isn't that so, that we tend to appreciate people only when it's too late...? (Report) Reply

    Gold Star - 10,359 Points Kim Barney (1/23/2015 8:27:00 AM)

    That's why I intend to have my own funeral while I am still alive, so I can hear all the good things people say about me!
    Except that if they knew I was there, they would turn it into a roast, and say all the embarrassing things they could think of!

Read all 7 comments »

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