African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology

Countee Cullen, "Colors" (1927) (individual poem)


(To Leland)


SHE went to buy a brand new hat,
And she was ugly, black, and fat:
“This red becomes you well,” they said,
And perched it high upon her head.
And then they laughed behind her back
To see it glow against the black.
She paid for it with regal mien,
And walked out proud as any queen.


The play is done, the crowds depart; and see
That twisted tortured thing hung from a tree,
Swart victim of a newer Calvary.

Yea, he who helped Christ up Golgotha's track,
That Simon who did not deny, was black.

(The Unknown Color)

I’ve often heard my mother say,
When great winds blew across the day,
And, cuddled close and out of sight,
The young pigs squealed with sudden fright
Like something speared or javelined,
“Poor little pigs, they see the wind.”

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