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Countee Cullen

I have a rendezvous with life.

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Your love to me was like an unread book.

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I was reared in the conservative atmosphere of a Methodist parsonage.

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So in the dark we hide the heart that bleeds, And wait, and tend our agonizing seeds.

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For A Lady I Know

She even thinks that up in heaven
Her class lies late and snores

While poor black cherubs rise at seven
To do celestial chores.

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For we must be one thing or the other, an asset or a liability, the sinew in your wing to help you soar, or the chain to bind you to earth.

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There is no secret to success except hard work and getting something indefinable which we call 'the breaks.' In order for a writer to succeed, I suggest three things - read and write - and wait.

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A Brown Girl Dead

With two white roses on her breasts,
White candles at head and feet,
Dark Madonna of the grave she rests;
Lord Death has found her sweet.

Her mother pawned her wedding ring
To lay her out in white;
She'd be so proud she'd dance and sing
to see herself tonight.

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For A Poet

I have wrapped my dreams in a silken cloth,
And laid them away in a box of gold;
Where long will cling the lips of the moth,
I have wrapped my dreams in a silken cloth;
I hide no hate; I am not even wroth
Who found the earth's breath so keen and cold;
I have wrapped my dreams in a silken cloth,
And laid them away in a box of gold.

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Harlem Wine

This is not water running here,
These thick rebellious streams
That hurtle flesh and bone past fear
Down alleyways of dreams

This is a wine that must flow on
Not caring how or where
So it has ways to flow upon
Where song is in the air.

So it can woo an artful flute
With loose elastic lips
Its measurements of joy compute
With blithe, ecstatic hips.

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