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Countee Cullen

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

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Fruit of the Flower


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?

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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

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  • Colleen Courtney (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

  • Captain Cur (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

  • delilah contrapunctal (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

Read all 3 comments »

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