Incident, By Countee Cullen

963 Words4 Pages
In the poem “Incident,” Countee Cullen uses the poetic speaker to discuss the issue of racism and discrimination between blacks and whites in America. This poem is written in classical form and is a lyrical ballad. It is written in strophic structure because it is divided into sections. The poem has a abcb rhyme structure since it is a lyrical ballad. Once riding in old Baltimore, Heart-filled, head-filled with glee, I saw a Baltimorean Keep looking straight at me. (ll. 1- 4). This poem is about a young boy visiting Baltimore, he was riding a bike and was extremely happy. He was filled with glee and then he noticed someone staring at him. He was just going about his day with not a care in the world until he saw this Baltimorean. 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.” (ll. 5-8). This Baltimorean who was the same size and probably the same age as the poet speaker, there was no way that he knew this word on his own. This goes to show that racism is taught. Young children don’t know those names, parents or other role models are the ones to teach them racism. The poet speaker was having a great day full of joy up until this little boy called him that name. I saw the whole of Baltimore From May until December; Of all the things that happened there That’s all that I remember. (ll. 9-12). He spent several months in Baltimore and probably did a lot of fun different things
Open Document