Yet Do I Marvel

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


This reminds me so much of Milton’s On His Blindness, both because of form and tone. The payoff is in the last two lines which are incredibly poignant. I found this in a little gem of a book called Sounds and Silences, edited by Richard Peck.

Countee Cullen was a prominent literary member of the Harlem Rennaisance and although very famous in his own lifetime, was eclipsed by Langston Hughes among others after his death. You can read more about him here.

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