Countee Cullen

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

Incident - Poem 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.


Comments about Incident by Countee Cullen

  • Kevin Patrick (6/24/2016 10:47:00 PM)


    Words can leave worse marks then bullets, it strips away the humanity and leaves a dehumanized state.

    What I find more sad in this case, is how Cullen initiated contact in a friendly gesture in the most humane way only to be greeted by the inhumanity of a monster.

    If you think this still doesent happen look up youtube comments, the same monster exsits in this day and age. (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Khairul Ahsan Khairul Ahsan (6/24/2016 10:31:00 PM)


    One small word had left such a big impact that the poet didn't remember any other word or incident after that, though he stayed in Baltimore for eight more months.
    A well narrated incident in well chosen verses.10/10. (Report) Reply

  • Rajnish Manga Rajnish Manga (6/24/2016 12:59:00 PM)


    Those who live in the city of Baltimore or thereabout can rightly be identified as racists, though, the poet did not call them so in the poem. The fact that he does not remember anything after so many years except the word 'Nigger' with which the local boy called him. Extremely shocking. (Report) Reply

  • Franba Ciscon Ampermou Franba Ciscon Ampermou (6/24/2016 10:29:00 AM)


    Its shocked me, good writing to reflect a real things that still make us to think more. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis Edward Kofi Louis (6/24/2016 4:28:00 AM)


    Memory! ! Growing up; with the muse of your life. Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (6/24/2016 1:59:00 AM)


    The emotional poem so heart felt. (Report) Reply

  • Amar Agarwala Amar Agarwala (4/8/2016 7:51:00 PM)


    Short and so stark... unimaginably penned down. Beautiful is all I can say! (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams Susan Williams (4/8/2016 4:52:00 PM)


    He writes as if it didn't cut him deep- -but he remembered the incident for many a year and I think we tend to remember what hurts us for a lot longer time than what makes us feel happy. I think we all have memories of this sort- the ugly remarks, the contemptuous sneers, and most of the time we don't know why these people choose to be so cruel. (Report) Reply

    Khairul Ahsan Khairul Ahsan (6/24/2016 10:26:00 PM)

    Well said, Susan! I appreciate your comment very much.

  • Barry Middleton Barry Middleton (4/8/2016 8:27:00 AM)


    What a nasty Baltimorean. But Countee Cullen almost makes a joke of it. I think he remembered but take note he made the Baltimorean as small as an 8 year old. (Report) Reply

  • Ratnakar Mandlik (4/8/2016 3:15:00 AM)


    Such harsh words do leave a deep scar on the mind of a child and accompany him till the end. A great poem. Thanks for sharing.10++ (Report) Reply

  • Gauri Vyas Gauri Vyas (4/8/2016 12:52:00 AM)


    Congrats on being poet of the day..truly deserved and surely this can be read by anyone because it leaves a great impact on the reader and ACH and every lines gets stuck on ur mind...exemplary and well executed..brilliant art..loved...10!! (Report) Reply

  • Diego Garcia (1/22/2016 7:02:00 AM)


    This poem is preposterous! I f u x with this poem heavyyyyyyy oooooooaaaaaaaa real good stuff wordplayer (Report) Reply

  • Booty4 Rudy (11/10/2015 2:05:00 PM)


    yee I agree, it be very lit (Report) Reply

  • Booty4 Rudy (11/10/2015 2:05:00 PM)


    yee I agree, it be very lit (Report) Reply

  • Jose Luis (11/10/2015 1:54:00 PM)


    this poem is hella lit Ap lit (Report) Reply

  • Dinah Kudatsky (5/1/2015 5:17:00 PM)


    It made me so sad to read this great poem, world-weary sad, but I'm grateful that Countee Cullen wrote it, and I'm glad I read it
    For Baltimore, and for all of us! Prayers for the cessation of both big and little murders (the little murders of being called the N word, or thug, the NEW N word) , and for a turning in Baltimore, and everywhere there is a thirst for dignity and justice. (Report) Reply

  • Liliana ~el (11/5/2013 5:46:00 PM)


    Whoah. Harsh, true, and absolutely powerful. (Report) Reply

  • Wahab Abdul Wahab Abdul (11/5/2013 12:44:00 AM)


    wonderful, to the point and straight in expression, love it (Report) Reply

  • 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

  • Caroline Bulleck 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

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Read poems about / on: remember, heart, smile



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

Poem Edited: Thursday, October 27, 2011


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