Incident by Countee Cullen

Today I would like to share with you a poem written by Countee Cullen (1903-1946), one of the most representative voices of the Harlem Renaissance.

(For Eric Walrond)
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.