“Yet Do I Marvel” is a poem written by Countee Cullen. It is about the speaker’s pondering of God’s greatness, despite His apparent imperfections. The speaker uses literary devices such as metaphors and similes to express his awe and wonder.
The poem Yet Do I Marvel starts off with the speaker in amazement. The word “marvel” is repeated throughout the poem to remind the reader of the speaker’s state of mind (Cullen 1, 9). He is questioning why he, a black man, has been blessed with so much despite all of the racism and discrimination that he has faced in his life. The speaker uses a lot of religious imagery to express his gratitude and wonder. For example, in line 2, he says “I doubt not God is good, well-meaning, kind” (Cullen 2). This shows that the speaker has strong faith and believes that everything happens for a reason.
In lines 3-4, the speaker talks about how he was “brought forth” in “agonies” and “cries” (Cullen 3-4). This is a metaphor for childbirth. The speaker is saying that even though he was born into a difficult situation, he has still been able to achieve great things. In lines 5-6, the speaker compares himself to Hercules, a figure from Greek mythology who was known for his strength and courage (Cullen 5-6). The speaker is saying that even though he is not as strong or as brave as Hercules, he has still been able to accomplish great things.
The rhyme scheme of Yet Do I Marvel changes several times throughout the poem. In the first stanza, the rhyme scheme is ABAB. In the second stanza, it changes to CDCD. And in the third stanza, it changes again to EFEF. The changing rhyme schemes help to create a sense of movement and change throughout the poem, which reflects the speaker’s state of mind.
The speaker also uses repetition as a way to emphasize his points. For example, he repeats the words “I doubt not” in lines 2 and 8 (Cullen 2, 8). By repeating these words, the speaker is emphasizing his faith and his belief that everything happens for a reason. He also repeats the word “marvel” in lines 1 and 9 (Cullen 1, 9). This repetition helps to drive home the main theme of the sonnet – that even in the face of adversity, the speaker can still achieve great things. Through all of these techniques, Yet Do I Marvel is able to convey a powerful message about resilience and perseverance in the face of discrimination.
In his sonnet, Cullen employs powerful religious images while at the same time incorporating many non-religious imagery. The theme of God’s mystery continues throughout the poem, with God refusing to reveal the secrets of the universe to the speaker when he asks him. Cullen begins by stating that he has faith in God because He is good natured, I am sure that God is good, well-meaning, and kind (Line 1). Your mind may question the statement while you are exposed to the start of the theme.
In the next line, Cullen continues to explain that he believes God is good. Yet Do I Marvel shows how confused and uncertain the speaker has become regarding his belief in God, saying Yet do I marvel at this curious thing: (Line 2). The phrase Yet do I marvel expresses an element of disbelief within the speaker. He cannot understand why God does not give him answers to his questions and makes us wonder if we could be under a similar confusion as well when faced with these unknowns in life.
Overall, Yet Do I Marvel by Countee Cullen is a powerful sonnet that uses metaphorical language and religious themes to express the speakers struggle to understand God’s mysteries. Whether you are religious or not, this poem is sure to make you reflect on your own beliefs and the different mysteries of life.
And did He stoop to quibble could tell why, The little buried mole continues blind, Why flesh that mirrors him must some day die, (Lines 2 4). In these lines, Cullen expresses his perplexity about what the purpose of his life is and why God does what he does using various metaphors. And when He raised His eye from prayer, or leisurely / studied what I’d said before Him – at times not so far away as I anticipated loneliness appeared to smother me – great happiness flooded my heart; it gave my existence a meaning then for the first time in its duration: “therefore,” thought I , “I existed,” (Lines 5 11).
This also could be read as Cullen questioning why he, a black man in America, must suffer so. He then lists some of the things that God has done that he does not understand: made an emotionally strong woman out of a cold piece of clay, gave fire to the tiger and air to the fowl (lines 8 10). While these could be read as simple acts of creation, they could also be read as ways in which God has empowered those who have been oppressed.
For example, the emotional woman is most likely a reference to one who has been taken advantage of by men; she is able to survive because of her emotions, which have been turned into strength. The tiger with fire could represent African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement who, with their passion, were able to make significant changes in America. The final line, Yet Do I Marvel / At this thing man has done: / Created him a universe and no place for him in it (lines 12 14), is probably the most direct statement of Cullen s feelings towards his existence.
He marvels at the fact that while God created everything, there is no place for man in it. This could be read as a statement about how black people are often left out of the American dream or as a more general feeling of alienation from society. Overall, Yet Do I Marvel is a poem about the human condition and our relationship with God. It is also a powerful statement about the black experience in America.
The following two lines of the poem create an image in the reader’s mind. The metaphor of a mole is used by Cullen to illustrate how he is blind to Gods actions while at the same time doubting God’s motives for doing something as little as let a tiny mole live blind. In the next line, Cullen employs a biblical simile when referring to flesh, which reflects His likeness. Humans are referred to by Cullen in these lines, and he asks God about death’s purpose. Rather than asking God outright, Cullen uses these figures to paint a more vivid picture in your head than if he simply challenged God.
Cullen also employs the use of personification when he speaks of how Nature weeps at the beauty and innocence of a new life. This is significant as it shows that Cullen views death as something natural, and not something that should be viewed with horror or despair. He mourns the loss of life, but he does not see it as something to be feared.
The poem Yet Do I Marvel written by Countee Cullen is a questioning of God’s actions while using literary devices such as metaphors, similes, and personification. Cullen uses the mole metaphor to represent his blindness to the reasoning of God’s actions and questions why a mole continues to live blind. He then employs personification when speaking of how Nature weeps at the beauty and innocence of a new life, showing that he views death as something natural. By using these literary devices, Cullen creates a more vivid image in the imagination and allows the reader to question God alongside him.