Countee Cullen

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

Fruit Of The Flower - Poem by Countee Cullen

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.

And yet my father's eyes can boast
How full his life has been;
There haunts them yet the languid ghost
Of some still sacred sin.

And though my mother chants of God,
And of the mystic river,
I've seen a bit of checkered sod
Set all her flesh aquiver.

Why should he deem it pure mischance
A son of his is fain
To do a naked tribal dance
Each time he hears the rain?

Why should she think it devil's art
That all my songs should be
Of love and lovers, broken heart,
And wild sweet agony?

Who plants a seed begets a bud,
Extract of that same root;
Why marvel at the hectic blood
That flushes this wild fruit?


Comments about Fruit Of The Flower by Countee Cullen

  • Sylva-onyema Uba (1/25/2017 12:07:00 PM)


    My mother's life is puritan.
    Nice poem!

    Sylva-Onyema Uba.
    (Report) Reply

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  • Tatiana Berdennikova (1/25/2017 12:05:00 PM)

    Fruit of the Flower
    A wonderful poem about conservatism opposing self-expression and talent. (Report) Reply

  • Seamus O' Brian (1/25/2017 11:38:00 AM)


    As time passes by, we sometimes forget the flushed, passionate energy of youth. This is an endearing reminder to those of us who have passed into *sober, steady ways* to remember the innocent joy of youth, and perhaps rekindle a bit of that lost magic. (Report) Reply

  • Anil Kumar Panda (1/25/2017 9:49:00 AM)


    A very nice poem about how we are different to each other. Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • Glen Kappy (1/25/2017 7:00:00 AM)

    Fruit of the Flower
    i wasn't familiar with this poem and was glad to read it. interesting to think how traits, how talents are passed on. my older son, for example, has stand-out musical talent which doesn't show in either my wife nor me. it was apparent though in my mother.

    i also relate to a son musing on his gifts and interests in comparison to his parents. if he is like me, he has only or mostly seen their personas. how many of us know much of the shadows, the depths of our parents? and if we do know, is it because our parents shared them or because we learned of them from others?

    glen kappy
    (Report) Reply

  • (1/25/2017 6:36:00 AM)


    A marvelous flight of imagery with equally marvelous presentation. Congrats on modern poet of the Day. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (1/25/2017 5:26:00 AM)

    Sober
    A quiet man. Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • Tom Allport (1/25/2017 3:38:00 AM)

    tom allport
    wonderful poem about how we all have our different dreams to follow? and they should be nurtured and not put down. (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (1/25/2017 12:38:00 AM)


    Thanks for sharing.............. (Report) Reply

  • (6/20/2015 8:13:00 PM)


    A realization that I am who I am, not what you desired me to be...writing poetry instead of pursing a trade was thought of as hedious. Countee reveals the disaproval and scorn of his parents for the choices he made. Delightful, rebellious and acceptance of his love for art and beauty. (Report) Reply

  • (7/3/2014 8:22:00 AM)


    This is such a wonderful poem on being able to be who you feel you truly are. It matters not where we come from. Every person has the right to live freely as they see fit whether it follows the dictates of mainstream society or not. This is a nice eye opening reminder write to be true to you! Always! (Report) Reply

  • (7/3/2012 4:58:00 AM)


    Parents only want us to follow in their shoes' footprints,
    not the naked ones. Loved this poem.
    (Report) Reply

  • (11/7/2007 9:11:00 PM)


    How I love this man's work........beautiful..
    a friend of mine had the good fortune to be one of his pupils..........
    .in some poetical 'hereafter', perhaps they've met once again..........................
    (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: simile, father, mother, dance, river, son, rain, fear, flower, god, life, time, heart, song



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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