Countee Cullen

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

The Wise


Dead men are wisest, for they know
How far the roots of flowers go,
How long a seed must rot to grow.

Dead men alone bear frost and rain
On throbless heart and heatless brain,
And feel no stir of joy or pain.

Dead men alone are satiate;
They sleep and dream and have no weight,
To curb their rest, of love or hate.

Strange, men should flee their company,
Or think me strange who long to be
Wrapped in their cool immunity.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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# 452 poem on top 500 Poems


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  • Gold Star - 11,100 Points Ramesh Rai (3/2/2014 1:16:00 AM)

    For the dead person I have nothing to comment except to pray -
    'May his/her soul rest in peace'. (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 1,718 Points Kevin Patrick (3/2/2013 5:27:00 PM)

    The one thing we dread, is the one thing that is inevitable, accept it, and you know peace. (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 4,363 Points Savita Tyagi (3/2/2013 9:27:00 AM)

    Seems to me poet doesn't believe that one can learn the art of bearing pain and pleasure or life's dualities while alive as to think that only dead can understand this and be wise. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Marcus Long (4/14/2009 10:16:00 AM)

    Countee Cullen is envious of the dead. Cullen dealt with pain of losing love ones at an early age. Dead man are the wisest because the dead is immune to human emotions that Cullen felt. (Report) Reply

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