From the Dark Tower

Brian Finnerty


“From theDarkTower”


The poem “From the Dark Tower”, by Countee Cullen, came during theHarlem


Renaissance. During this period in the 1920s and 30s African Americans made great


strides in the aspects of the music, theater, sports and music world. One person who was


part of these strides was Countee Cullen, who wrote poems like “From the Dark Tower”.


Upon researching about Countee Cullen’s poem, I found out that theDarkTowerwas


actually a location on 136th street inHarlem,New York.


The poem starts off with the line “We shall not always plant while others reap”. Just


by reading this first line we as readers can see the direction Cullen is going to take in his


poem. This line is very strong and admit when it comes to describing the obstacles


African Americans have faced during the years of oppression and slavery. I believe


Cullen in this line is stating that African Americans are done working for the upper class


whites without getting any types of rewards. They deserve to be wealthy and rich like the


fruits they plant in the fields and they deserve to be rewarded for their hard work.


I believe the “hotspot” in this poem is the last stanza where Cullen writes, “So in the


dark we hide the heart that bleeds, And wait and tend our agonizing seeds”. This line


basically says that the African Americans are saddened by the way things are going and


will stick together until they achieve rights that are equal to the whites”. Cullen’s claim


on the oppression of African Americans is seen clearly in the poem and I agree with his


claim and the images he uses to describe the struggles that the Africans go through on a


daily basis. The word brute is a word that comes up in the poem and it was a word that I


was not too familiar with. When looking it up in the oxford dictionary I came across the


definition of it and to my surprise it went hand in hand with how the African Americans


were being treated. The word brute means to struggle for.

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