(Instead of a summary of the poem, I’m just going to repeat instead) 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 someday die, Make plain the reason tortured Tantalus Is Baited by the fickle fruit, declare If Merely a 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!
If man asked God why he did so many things and I covered them all then I would have a really long blog! But I’ll just cover this poem instead. The main question Countee asks is what is God’s reasoning behind his choices and brings to light one of the most innocent questions usually asked by kids about God, If God is good then why does he let bad things happen. Now one could argue about free will and choice, but that would be getting off topic of the work at hand. The first half of the poem is asking questions, the one I find interesting is the one involving Tantalus, one of the many characters in Greek mythology. Tantalus was invited to eat at the Gods table, but he stole ambrosia and nectar to bring to his people (and probably for himself) The thing about ambrosia and nectar is that it made humans like the gods. The gods did not like this so they put him in the underworld. I find interesting the Countee puts the reference to Tantlus, who wanted to be immortal, after the line “Why flesh that mirrors Him must die someday”. Questioning why we must die and why we are punished for trying to attain immortality has a nice duality to it. He then come to the conclusion that most people just go to, that we can’t understand his ways and that he is always right.