Yet Do I Marvel

By Countee Cullen 1903–1946 Countee Cullen
I doubt not God is good, well-meaning, kind,
And did He stoop to quibble could tell why
The little buried mole continues blind,   
Why flesh that mirrors Him must some day die,
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.   
Inscrutable His ways are, and immune   
To catechism by a mind too strewn   
With petty cares to slightly understand   
What awful brain compels His awful hand.   
Yet do I marvel at this curious thing:   
To make a poet black, and bid him sing!

Countee Cullen, “Yet Do I Marvel” from Color. Copyright 1925 by Harper & Brothers, NY. Renewed 1953 by Ida M. Cullen. Copyrights held by The Amistad Research Center, Tulane University. Administrated by Thompson and Thompson, Brooklyn, NY.


Source: My Soul’s High Song: The Collected Writings of Countee Cullen (Anchor Books, 1991)

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Poet Countee Cullen 1903–1946

SCHOOL / PERIOD Harlem Renaissance

Subjects Religion, Social Commentaries

Holidays Kwanzaa

Poetic Terms Sonnet

 Countee  Cullen

Biography

Countee Cullen was perhaps the most representative voice of the Harlem Renaissance. His life story is essentially a tale of youthful exuberance and talent of a star that flashed across the Afro-American firmament and then sank toward the horizon. When his paternal grandmother and guardian died in 1918, the fifteen-year-old Countee LeRoy Porter was taken into the home of the Reverend Frederick A. Cullen, the pastor of Salem . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Religion, Social Commentaries

SCHOOL / PERIOD Harlem Renaissance

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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