|Five Poems of Countée Cullen for medium voice and piano i. Saturday's Child [ 5 pages, circa 3' 00" ] |
Some are teethed on a silver spoon,
With the stars strung for a rattle;
I cut my teeth as the black racoon
For implements of battle.
Some are swaddled in silk and down,
And heralded by a star;
They swathed my limbs in a sackcloth gown
On a night that was black as tar.
For some, godfather and goddame
The opulent fairies be; Dame Poverty gave me my name, And Pain godfathered me. For I was born on Saturday "Bad time for planting a seed," Was all my father had to say, And, "One mouth more to feed." Death cut the strings that gave me life, And handed me to Sorrow, The only kind of middle wife My folks could beg or borrow. ii. Incident [ 3 pages, circa 2' 10" ] 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;