“INCIDENT”: A Poem by Countee Cullen for the Last Day of National Poetry Month (VIDEO)

NationalPoetryMonthLogoPosted by Elaine Magliaro

The Poetry Foundation has said that poet Countee Cullen (1903-1946) “was perhaps the most representative voice of the Harlem Renaissance.”

Countee Cullen

Countee Cullen

By Countee Cullen

Once riding in old Baltimore,
Heart-filled, head-filled with glee,
I saw a Baltimorean
Keep looking straight at me.

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.”

I saw the whole of Baltimore
From May until December;
Of all the things that happened there
That’s all that I remember.



Countee Cullen (Poetry Foundation)

Countee Cullen (Academy of American Poets)

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4 Responses to “INCIDENT”: A Poem by Countee Cullen for the Last Day of National Poetry Month (VIDEO)

  1. bettykath says:

    Great poetry. Great commentary. So much better than the Irish variety.

    I was in Philadelphia when I was very young, maybe 3 or 4. I saw my first A-As. We were on a street corner, maybe waiting for a bus or to cross the street. What I remember of that visit was an older Black man smiling at me, a friendly smile. I sort of hid behind my mother. I wasn’t afraid, just shy. I think that’s the visit when I discovered that my cousins, just a tad younger than myself, had a water fountain in their apartment. It was noisy. I remember nothing else of that visit.

  2. bettykath says:

    Elaine, for your interest in young people and poetry, There is a 15 year old student who has written an awesome poem that will be published soon. Donovan is also a musician and baseball pitcher.

    Donovan Snyder at the Walt Whitman Birthplace for the Town of Huntington Public Art Initiative “Poetry for HART.” He was honored along with students from other local schools and read his poem “The Ball.”

    “The Long Islander,” newspaper, fittingly founded by Whitman, will publish the poems.

  3. bettykath says:

    Elaine, thanks for the link. His dad is a friend and posted the poem on fb. Several really good poems from this group.

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