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SIMON THE CYRENIAN SPEAKS, by             Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography

"Simon the Cyrenian Speaks" is a poem by Countee Cullen, first published in 1925 in his collection "Color." The poem is a monologue spoken by Simon the Cyrenian, who was compelled to carry Jesus' cross during the crucifixion.

Explanation:

The poem is spoken from the perspective of Simon the Cyrenian, who is reflecting on his experience of carrying Jesus' cross during the crucifixion. The speaker describes the weight of the cross, the brutality of the soldiers, and the sense of confusion and sorrow that accompany the scene. The poem concludes with a reflection on the transformative power of the experience, and the hope that it may lead to greater understanding and compassion.

Poetic Elements:

  • Form: The poem is written in free verse, with no set rhyme scheme or meter. The lines are of varying length and follow a loose structure.
  • Theme: The poem explores the theme of suffering, sacrifice, and transformation.
  • Imagery: The poem uses vivid imagery to convey the physical and emotional weight of the experience, as well as the brutality of the soldiers and the confusion of the scene.
  • Tone: The tone of the poem is reflective and contemplative, as the speaker reflects on the transformative power of the experience.
  • Sound: The poem makes use of repetition, with the phrase "I know" repeated throughout the poem. The use of alliteration and assonance creates a sense of musicality and movement.
  • Language: The language of the poem is accessible and straightforward, with a focus on concrete details and sensory experience.
  • Figurative language: The poem uses metaphor, such as the metaphor of the cross as a burden of suffering and sacrifice, to convey the complexity and depth of the experience.
  • Structure: The poem is divided into three stanzas, each of which explores a different aspect of the experience of carrying the cross.
  • Symbolism: The references to the cross as a symbol of suffering and sacrifice serve as a symbolic representation of the transformative power of suffering.
  • Emotion: The poem conveys a sense of confusion, sorrow, and hope, as the speaker reflects on the intensity of the experience and the possibility of transformation.

Conclusion:

"Simon the Cyrenian Speaks" is a powerful and reflective poem that explores the theme of suffering, sacrifice, and transformation. Through the use of vivid imagery, metaphor, and repetition, Countee Cullen captures the complexity and depth of the experience of carrying the cross, and reflects on the possibility of transformative power through suffering.


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