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Poem by Countee Cullen


Karenge Ya Marenge


Wherein are words sublime or noble? What
Invests one speech with haloed eminence,
Makes it the sesame for all doors shut,
Yet in its like sees but impertinence?
Is it the hue? Is it the cast of eye,
The curve of lip or Asiatic breath,
Which mark a lesser place for Gandhis cry
Than Give me liberty or give me death!

Is Indian speech so quaint, so weak, so rude,
So like its land enslaved, denied, and crude,
That men who claim they fight for liberty
Can hear this battle-shout impassively,
Yet to their arms with high resolve have sprung
At those same words cried in the English tongue?



Countee Cullen


Countee Cullen's other poems:
  1. That Bright Chimeric Beast
  2. From the Dark Tower
  3. She of the Dancing Feet Sings
  4. The Wakeupworld
  5. A Brown Girl Dead


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