Assignment 2: Harlem Renaissance Poets Essays

1832 Words Apr 14th, 2014 8 Pages
Assignment 2: Harlem Renaissance Poets
Demetria Davenport
HUM 112
Dr. Jeff Kersh

Countee Cullen (1903-1996)
“Heritage” (1925)

What is Africa to me:
Copper sun or scarlet sea,
Jungle star or jungle track,
Strong bronzed men, or regal black
Women from whose loins I sprang
When the birds of Eden sang?
One three centuries removed
From the scenes his fathers loved,
Spicy grove, cinnamon tree,
What is Africa to me?
So I lie, who all day long
Want no sound except the song
Sung by wild barbaric birds
Goading massive jungle herds,
Juggernauts of flesh that pass
Trampling tall defiant grass
Where young forest lovers lie,
Plighting troth beneath the sky,
So I lie, who always hear,
Though I cram against my ear
Both my
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So I lie, who find no peace
Night or day slight release
From the unremittent beat
Made by cruel padded feet
Walking through my body’s street,
Up and down they go, and back
Treading out a jungle track,
So I lie, who never quite
Safely sleep from rain at night-
I can never rest at all
When the rain begins to fall;
Like a soul gone mad with pain
I must match this weird refrain,
Even must I twist and squirm,
Writing like a baited worm,
While its primal measures drip
Through my body, crying “Strip!
Doff this new exuberance,
Come and dance the Lover’s Dance!”
In an old remembered way
Rain works on me night and day,
Quaint, outlandish heathen gods
Black men fashion out of rods,
Clay, and brittle bits of stone,
In a likeness like their own,
My conversion came high-priced;
I belong to Jesus Christ,
Preacher of humanity;
Heathen gods are naughty to me.
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
So make an idle boast;
Jesus of the twice- turned cheek,
Lamb of God, although I speak
With my mouth thus, in my heart
Do I play a double part.
Even at thy glowing altar
Must my heart grow sick and falter,
Wishing He I served were black,
Thinking then it would not lack
Precedent of pain to guide it;
Surely then this flesh would know
Yours had borne a kindred woe.
Lord, I fashion dark gods, too,
Daring even to give you
Dark despairing features where,

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