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 a nigger.
I saw the whole of Baltimore
From May until December;
Of all the things that happened there
That’s all that I remember.
Countee Cullen is one of the most representative voices of the Harlem Renaissance. His life story is essentially a tale of youthful exuberance and talent of a star that flashed across the African American firmament and then sank toward the horizon. Continue reading at Poetry Foundation