Top 10 Countee Cullen Quotes

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Countee Cullen, a prominent figure of the Harlem Renaissance, left an indelible mark on literature with his eloquent verses that touched on themes of race, identity, love, and heritage. His words are a testament to his ability to evoke powerful emotions and shed light on the complexities of the human experience. In this article, we present a compilation of the top 10 quotes by Countee Cullen that reflect his poetic brilliance, cultural awareness, and lasting impact.

Yet do I marvel at this curious thing: To make a poet black, and bid him sing!

This opening line from Cullen’s poem “Yet Do I Marvel” encapsulates his contemplation on the paradox of being a black poet in a world that sometimes marginalizes such voices.

I doubt not God is good, well-meaning, kind, and did He stoop to quibble could tell why the little buried mole continues blind… Why flesh that mirrors Him must some day die.

In these lines from “Yet Do I Marvel,” Cullen grapples with the questions of human suffering and divine intention.

Heritage, let me tell you this—
All the things you never knew you had
Ain’t no use when you’re dead.

Cullen’s exploration of heritage in this quote captures the urgency of acknowledging and celebrating one’s roots during one’s lifetime.

How shall the heart be reconciled/ to its feast of losses?

In this quote, Cullen reflects on the inevitable pain of human existence and the challenge of finding inner peace amid losses.

From the white man’s house, I turned,/ Happy to have paid the cost,/ and walked on the world beside the world,/ which did not cost me anything.

His words in this quote from “From the Dark Tower” convey a sense of liberation and defiance against societal norms.

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

This excerpt from Cullen’s poem “If I Can Stop One Heart from Breaking” emphasizes his desire to contribute positively to the lives of others.

Harlem wine is sweet and the girls are black and sweet,
And a breeze comes wandering from places far away.
It makes the tall buildings move a little on their foundations,
And the skyscrapers sway.

Cullen’s vivid imagery in “Harlem Wine” captures the intoxicating allure of the Harlem nightlife.

Children, I come back today
To tell you a story of the long dark way
That I had to climb, that I had to know
In order that the race might live and grow.

This opening from “The Black Christ” speaks to Cullen’s appreciation for the struggles of his forebears and his sense of responsibility to his community.

Yet I do well to be angry: I, God’s son.

Cullen’s exploration of righteous anger in “Incident” reflects his examination of the impact of racial prejudice on personal identity.

A sniggering world abandoned forlorn,
Suffer and be still.

In “Saturday’s Child,” Cullen’s somber lines emphasize the isolation and suffering that can come with societal indifference.

In conclusion, Countee Cullen’s quotes offer a glimpse into the depth of his insights and the beauty of his poetic expressions. His words continue to resonate, inviting readers to engage with themes of race, identity, and the complexities of existence. Cullen’s legacy as a pivotal voice of the Harlem Renaissance endures, inspiring individuals to reflect on the past, embrace their heritage, and strive for a more just and compassionate world.