Yet Do I Marvel

By April 16, 2018 Arts

Yet Do I Marvel “Yet Do I Marvel” a sonnet by Countee Cullen, is written in iambic pentameter. Its rhyming scheme is arranged in two, four line stanzas, abab and cdcd, ending with a six-line stanza, eeffgg. This poem is written in first-person, the voice of a Black man and uses a variety of tones; confusion, anger and sarcasm, to portray it’s message; The poem begins with the poet’s voice affirming the belief that God is good, well meaning, but admits God has left him with out explanation for understanding the reasons behind the justice or injustices, which make up God’s will.

Comparisons with in the poem are made to illustrate the lack of sense in God’s design. The line, The buried mole continues to be blind, would seem to be an inexplicable injustice against a creature that has done no wrong. Then the line, Why flesh that mirrors him must some day die, would seem an unjust end for a being God created in his likeness.

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Cullen’s next comparisons allude to two mythical gods sentenced to suffer for eternity for their heinous crimes, Make plain the reason tortured Tantalus Is baited by the fickle fruit, declare If merely brute caprice dooms Sisyphus To struggle up a never-ending stair, there would seem to be no need of explanation for the justness of their fate (“Encyclopedia Mythica”). The poems last stanzas are the need for reaffirmation of faith in God’s divine plan as we have not the wisdom to be more than his instrument, To catechism by a mind too strewn, With petty cares to slightly understand, What awful brain compels His awful hand.

That leaves the poet concluding that despite the racial indignities and senseless injustices performed against blacks who speak out, he must accept what it is God’s will which is, To make a poet black, and bid him sing! Countee Cullen was a pivotal force in the Afro-American arts movement of his time, known as Harlem Renaissance. Cullen’s use of racial themes in this verse are reflective of a black urban consciousness for change, brought about by America’s racial climate during the 1920s and black American disillusionment after World War 1 (“Cullen, Countee”).

Countee Cullen while an out spoken agent for change drew criticism for his works when he chose as his model the classical verse forms of John Keats rather than rely on the rhythms and idioms of his black American heritage (“African American Literature”), It was Cullen’s belief that use of more traditional forms to structure his poetic message would allow art to transcended race and minimize the distance between black and white people (“Cullen, Countee” ). Yet Do I Marvel

Biography Online: Encyclopedia Mythica http://www. mythweb. com/index. html African American literature. ” Encyclop? dia Britannica. Encyclop? dia Britannica Online. Encyclop? dia Britannica, 2010. Web. 19  Apr. 2010  http://www. search. eb. com. prxy1. ursus. maine. edu/eb/article-232356 Cullen, Countee. ” Encyclop? dia Britannica. Encyclop? dia Britannica Online. Encyclop? dia Britannica, 2010. Web. http://www. search. eb. com. prxy1. ursus. maine. edu/eb/article-9028151


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