What figures of speech are used in the poem "Yet do I Marvel?"

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

A figure of speech is a type of language that is not literal.  In this case, the poem takes on many meanings.  It is common to use figurative language like metaphors in a sonnet.  This beautiful sonnet uses metaphors, personification, and allusion.

The strongest metaphor is that God is a person.    God is personified, seen as stooping and having an “awful brain.”  There is also an allusion to Sisyphus, a figure from Greek mythology.  Humans are compared to Sisyphus, and their life is compared to “struggle up a never-ending stair.” 

Cullen uses metaphor when describing how he tries to comprehend the word of God.

Inscrutable His ways are, and immune   

To catechism by a mind too strewn   

With petty cares to slightly understand

The speaker describes his mind as a place and ideas as things that can literally be strewn around.

Another metaphor is in the last line.

Yet do I marvel at this curious thing:   

To make a poet black, and bid him sing!

In this case, writing a poem is compared to singing.  The poem and the song are both an expression of beauty. 

 

 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial