Countee Cullen

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

Incident


Once riding in old Baltimore,
Heart-filled, head-filled with glee,
I saw a Baltimorean
........................
........................
read full text »

Form:

# 136 poem on top 500 Poems


Do you like this poem?
70 person liked.
7 person did not like.

Comments about this poem (Incident by Countee Cullen )

Enter the verification code :

  • Rookie - 182 Points Karen Sinclair (11/5/2012 7:33:00 PM)

    I find this one a difficult read, the first stanza he writes with enthusiasm and the exuberance of youth, then the shock, then stored to be remembered with pain.... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Caroline Bulleck (11/5/2012 5:54:00 PM)

    It's horrible how racism is alive today. Everyone is equal, but there will always be favoritism among race. It's so sad. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie B Before (8/16/2012 11:28:00 PM)

    Racism is a painful experience and the perpetrators will always try to deny it or twist it up with fancy verbiage and meaningless explanations. The simple brilliance of the poem is a man putting his past into perspective and recognizing the power of words and that they indeed do hurt. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Brittney Ware (5/9/2010 1:59:00 PM)

    Ned Coates, you are an idiot. 'Whit' means a particle or a bit. Like when you say a smidge of something.

    Stop making stuff up. It makes you look stupid. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Sara S (11/24/2009 1:26:00 PM)

    an awesome poem for anyone black or white.... ned coates I don't see revenge or anger or whatever in any of this, it seems like putting it in makes the poet sound bad or mean which i don't get from this (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 785 Points Lamont Palmer (8/13/2009 5:02:00 AM)

    One of the few poems that I have always been able to recite from memory since reading it at the age of sixteen. A simple but poignant poem, exemplifying how racism can be a powerful and destructive force. Cullen is one of the (underrated) masters. -LP (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 25 Points Ned Coates (1/19/2009 8:14:00 PM)

    I would also add that the choice of 'May until December' is symbolic of a transition from callow youth to the chill of disillusionment, a strong note of pathos. Like Holden Caufield, the speaker could be telling this to a shrink. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 25 Points Ned Coates (1/19/2009 8:05:00 PM)

    When I first read this poem years ago, it had immediate shock value, with the speaker of the poem as total victim and the reader suffering vicariously. Upon reading it again years later, knowing the sharp reversal of stanza two, I looked at other aspects of the poem, realizing that obviously the speaker is not an eight-year-old child but an adult, likely the poet himself. In this second view, one can see that this simple-looking poem is really one of revenge. If we put '-an' onto 'Baltimore, ' we get the sound of balta-moron. The antagonist is a racist moron. Also he is not a whit-i.e., wit-bigger than than the speaker but is now a moron of little wit (an emphatic redundancy) . The incident took place in the whole-that is, the hole-of Baltimore, likely meaning what we mean when we say, 'That place is a hole! ' Let us hope that this incident in 'old Baltimore' is not representative of the city today, which I have found quite enjoyable to visit. Perhaps there are more puns in the poem, or perhaps I'm trying too hard. But it is this second reading that that moved me to give the poem a ten. (Report) Reply

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  2. If, Rudyard Kipling
  3. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  4. Daffodils, William Wordsworth
  5. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  6. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  7. As I Grew Older, Langston Hughes
  8. A Dream Within A Dream, Edgar Allan Poe
  9. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
  10. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep, Mary Elizabeth Frye

Poem of the Day

poet Oliver Wendell Holmes

YES, write, if you want to, there's nothing like trying;
Who knows what a treasure your casket may hold?
I'll show you that rhyming's as easy as lying,
...... Read complete »

   

New Poems

  1. Love's Curse Befell None, Jayatissa Liyanage
  2. Saturday's Sultry Soho Spinster {Alliter.., Frank James Ryan Jr...FjR
  3. Reality of Love - 3: Life Sans Bonds, Jayatissa Liyanage
  4. My End, Zanzoo Mindanase
  5. Reality of Love - 2: Veiled Motive, Jayatissa Liyanage
  6. Imagining a Vessel in a Rock on a Beach, Johanna Boal
  7. Reality of Love - 1: Elements, Jayatissa Liyanage
  8. E s o t e r i c a {An Exercise in Ornate.., Frank James Ryan Jr...FjR
  9. Silent Light, William Waterway
  10. Birthday, Gunde Narsing Rao
[Hata Bildir]