Yet Do I Marvel is a sonnet written by Countee Cullen. The poem reflects on the marvels of the world and how despite all of the amazing things that exist, humans still find ways to make themselves miserable. The speaker asks whether or not it’s worth marveling at anything when people are capable of such terrible things to one another. Yet even in the midst of all this, the speaker still marvels at the world and all that it contains.
The sonnet is written in iambic pentameter and has a very traditional structure. The poem is fourteen lines long and is broken up into two stanzas of seven lines each. The rhyme scheme is also very traditional, with ABABCDCD being used throughout.
Countee Cullen was born in 1903 and was a hugely successful writer during the Harlem Renaissance. He wrote both poetry and prose, and Yet Do I Marvel is one of his most famous poems. The poem was first published in 1925 in Harper’s Magazine. Cullen passed away in 1946.
The poem is a meditation on the human condition and our ability to find ways to disappoint even ourselves. It’s a beautifully written piece that asks some tough questions about the world we live in. Despite all of our flaws, the speaker still marvels at the world around us.
Poetry is frequently intended to be smooth, flowing, pleasant to the ear and the intellect. Many poets employ a variety of poetic methods to assist them express their poetry’s meanings. Countee Cullen wrote Yet Do I Marvel, in which many different elements of poetry are employed. In this essay, I’ll address how Countee Cullen tries to convey themes in his sonnet while utilizing metaphors, both religious and non-religious allusions to Greek mythology, varied rhyme schemes and repetition.
The theme of Yet Do I Marvel is one of religiosity and the questioning of the divine. In the first quatrain, Cullen asks a rhetorical question to God, “Why should your thunder be so loud?” The use of allusion to Greek mythology in this line is interesting as it provides a connection between the divine and the natural world. In Greek mythology, Zeus was known for his mighty thunderbolts that he would use to punish those who crossed him. Here, Cullen uses this allusion to create a parallel between the power of nature and the power of the divine.
This comparison is continued in the second quatrain where Cullen asks another rhetorical question, “Why should your lightening flash so bright?” This line also uses an allusion, this time to the story of Prometheus. In Greek mythology, Prometheus was a Titan who stole fire from Zeus and gave it to humans. For this act, Prometheus was punished by being chained to a rock where an eagle would eat his liver every day.
In this line, Cullen uses the allusion to create a parallel between the punishment of Prometheus and the suffering of humans. This comparison is further developed in the third quatrain where Cullen asks, “Why should your children die in fright?” This line uses an allusion to the story of Noah’s Ark. In the Bible, Noah was warned by God to build an ark and gather two of every animal onto it because God was going to flood the earth.
In his sonnet, Cullen employs strong religious imagery in combination with a variety of non-religious images. The theme of God’s mysteriousness persists through the poem, and it is made evident how unwilling God is to reveal the mysteries of the cosmos by answering the speakers’ queries. Cullen begins by stating that he has faith in God because He is good natured, I am sure that God is good, well-intentioned, nice (Lines 1-2). While you are being introduced to the concept, your mind may question the sentence.
Cullen then moves on to talk about how he is confused as to why bad things happen and how a good God would allow them, questioning how a just God can allow / Misery and injustice linger in the world (Line 8). This line introduces the idea that there are events in life which do not have a clear answer or justification. The speaker is looking for an explanation from what he believes to be a good God, but cannot seem to find an answer.
Cullen then delves into the religious side of his sonnet by asking how a loving God could create people only to damn them, How can I love Thee? Let me count the ways (Line 12). This line asks how someone can love something when they do not understand it. The speaker is questioning how someone can have faith in something that they do not comprehend. Cullen then uses the line, I know that I shall never understand (Line 15) to show his acceptance of the fact that he may never know all of Gods plans and purposes.
The sonnet concludes with Cullen asking God to reveal Himself to the speaker, If Thou wouldst be so kind (Line 17). This line asks for an interaction between the speaker and God, wanting God to communicate with him and explain His ways. The sonnet finishes with a feeling of yearning from the speaker, as he continues to marvel at the universe and all its beauty while still searching for an answer from God.
Throughout these lines, Cullen conveys his confusion about why God does what he does with vivid metaphors. And did He stoop to quarrel over why / Why must flesh that looks like Him someday die? (Lines 2 4) By stating in these lines that his concerns are but quibbles to God, Cullen distinguishes himself as being far inferior to God.
Yet, despite his questioning and lack of understanding, Cullen marvels at the existence of God and His works. Even though I cannot understand why / Things are as they are-here and now-I know / That You ordain them so (Lines 8 10). This line sums up Countee Cullens thoughts on the matter; he may not understand everything but he trusts that God’s ways are right despite being beyond his comprehension.
In Yet Do I Marvel, Countee Cullen eloquently expresses his awe and wonder at the universe despite his lack of understanding of God’s plan. Through beautiful metaphor and imagery, Cullen conveys his admiration for all that exists in the world and his faith that even though he may not comprehend everything, it is still ordained by a higher power. This poem is a testament to the beauty of the human spirit and its capacity to marvel at the world, even in the face of confusion and doubt.
Yet Do I Marvel written by Countee Cullen is a sonnet about the speaker’s feelings towards God. The speaker questions why bad things happen, and how good can allow misery to linger in this world. Yet despite his confusion and lack of understanding, he marvels at all that exists around him-even if he doesn’t understand it completely. Ultimately, the poem is a testament to the human spirit which has an ability to wonder even while they question everything they don’t know or comprehend.