Friday, November 11, 2016

THE INCIDENT by Countee Cullen.

I am so depressed. You can probably figure out why for yourselves. I have been reading about all the racist incidents that have been happening in this country since Trump got elected--so many of them in schools. My heart bleeds for minority children who may be fearful of going to school now.

Today, I am posting one of the most powerful poems about racism that I have ever. It hits me in the gut every time I read it.

by Countee Cullen

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.


Jama Rattigan has the Poetry Friday Roundup today.


jama said...

Thanks for sharing Cullen's poem. I am depressed too, Elaine. It's like there's a wail of sorrow beyond sorrow, anger, shock, and frustration welling inside and I don't know where to put it. I'm so thankful for the kidlit community.

Elaine Magliaro said...


I am thankful for the kidlit community too--especially for individuals like you. This is the first time I have ever cried on the night of a presidential election. I fear for our country. I am worried about my granddaughters' future.

tanita✿davis said...

I remember this poem from school, how it was immediately seared into instant memorization.

It still make me weep.

Elaine Magliaro said...


I fear we are going back to those days again. You are right. That poem DOES sear itself into one's memory almost instantly.

Jane @ said...

Heartbreaking. Watching this all from Canada, frightened and heartsick, but also inspired and determined to do whatever I can to spread love and empathy.

Elaine Magliaro said...


It is indeed frightening. I--and others like me--are heartsick. Three days after the election I still find it hard to believe that a man like Trump will be our president. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. Our electoral college has got to go!

Linda B said...

I know this poem, and it is terrible, Elaine. I used it with my middle schoolers to show how powerful only a few words can be. It has been a hard, hard week. I am thankful for my friends who are posting supportive ideas, and for those like you who show me I am not alone. Hugs to you and thanks for this poem, one everyone needs to know.

Elaine Magliaro said...


Thanks. I am especially thankful that I have my granddaughters so close. They have helped to bring joy into my life this week. The kidlit community has been a good place to share our feelings these days.

Mary Lee said...

I am thankful for the Poetry Friday roundup this week. I feel buoyed by poetry, and called to positive actions.

Elaine Magliaro said...

Mary Lee,

I am thankful too. Poetry is a wonderful place to go when times get you down.

My husband and I had a great time babysitting for our "grandgirls" last night. Julia slept over...and we just had breakfast together. That brightened the beginning of this Sunday.