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

Countee Cullen, "Scandal and Gossip" (1927)

Scandal and Gossip

SCANDAL is a stately lady,
Whispers when she talks;
Waves of innuendo
Ripple where she walks.

Speaking with a lifted shoulder,
Flicker of a lash,
Scorning words as dangerous,
She is never rash.

Gossip is a giddy girl
Running here and there,
Showing all the neighborhood
What she has to wear.

Gossip babbles like a brook,
Rages like a flood,
Chews her placid hearsays
As a cow her cud.

Scandal hobnobs with the rich
Over purple wine;
Gossip has the vagabonds
In to chat and dine.

Scandal never visits us;
We are far too poor;
Gossip never missed a day
Knocking at our door.