Jean Toomer Quotes
“Her Lips Are Copper Wire”
whisper of yellow globes
gleaming on lamp posts that sway
like bootleg licker drinkers in the fog
and let your breath be moist against me
like bright beads on yellow globes
telephone the power-house
that the main wires are insulate
(her words play up and down
dewy corridors of billboards)
then with your tongue remove the tape
and press your lips to mine
till they are incandescent”
“Happy, Muriel? No, not happy. Your aim is wrong. There is no such thing as happiness. Life bends joy and pain, beauty and ugliness, in such a way that no one may isolate them. No one should want to. Perfect joy, or perfect pain, with no contrasting element to define them, would mean a monotony of consciousness, would mean death.”
Within this black hive to-night
There swarm a million bees;
Bees passing in and out the moon,
Bees escaping out the moon,
Bees returning through the moon,
Silver bees intently buzzing,
Silver honey dripping from the swarm of bees.
Earth is a waxen cell of the world comb,
And I, a drone,
Lying on my back,
Getting drunk with silver honey,
Wish that I might fly out past the moon
And curl forever in some far-off farmyard flower.”
“I am of no particular race. I am of the human race, a man at large in the human world, preparing a new race.
I am of no specific region. I am of earth.
I am of no particular class. I am of the human class, preparing a new class.
I am neither male nor female nor in-between. I am of sex, with male differentiations.
I am of no special field. I am of the field of being.”
“زهرة قطن نوفمبر
سوسة القطن في طريقها، وبرد الشتاء،
أضفى على سويقات القطن لون الصدأ، كمواسم فات أوانها،
والقطن، شحيح كثلج جنوبي،
الغصن يتهاوى؛ رخواً شديد الذبول،
لا يصلح أن يكون مجرفة لأوراق الخريف؛
التربة اجتاحها القحط مسبباً بانجرافها
جفاف كل مياه السواقي؛ طيورٌ ميتةٌ وجدت
في الآبار على عمق مائة قدم تحت سطح الأرض
و هذا هو الفصل الذي تفتحت فيه الزهرة
الدهشة أصابت كبار القوم، وسرعان ما حلوا اللغز
ما لم تره من قبل قط:
عيون بنية وقعت في حبها دونما وجل،
حُسْنٌ لا يخطر ببال أحد في مثل ذلك الوقت من السنة.
“In my body were many bloods, some dark blood, all blended in the fire of six or more generations. I was, then, either a new type of man or the very oldest. In any case I was inescapably myself. . . . If I achieved greatness of human stature, then just to the degree that I did I would justify all the blood in me. If I proved worthless, then I would betray all. In my own mind I could not see the dark blood as something quite different and apart. But if people wanted to say this dark blood was Negro blood and if they then wanted to call me a Negro - this was up to them. Fourteen years of my life I had lived in the white group, four years I had lived in the colored group. In my experience there had been no main difference between the two. But if people wanted to isolate and fasten on those four years and to say that therefore I was colored, this too was up to them. . . .I determined what I would do. To my real friends of both groups, I would, at the right time, voluntarily define my position. As for people at large, naturally I would go my way and say nothing unless the question was raised. If raised, I would meet it squarely, going into as much detail as seemed desirable for the occasion. Or again, if it was not the person's business I would either tell him nothing or the first nonsense that came into my head.”
- Date of birth: December 26, 1894
- Died: March 30, 1967
- Born: in Washington, D.C., The United States.
- Description: Jean Toomer (December 26, 1894 – March 30, 1967) was an American poet and novelist and an important figure of the Harlem Renaissance and modernism. His first book Cane, published in 1923, is considered by many to be his most significant. Of mixed race and majority European ancestry, Toomer struggled to identify as "an American" and resisted efforts to classify him as a black writer.
He continued to write poetry, short stories and essays. After his second marriage in 1934, he moved from New York to Doylestown, Pennsylvania, where he became a member of the Religious Society of Friends (also known as Quakers) and retired from public life. His papers are held by the Beinecke Rare Book Library at Yale University.