God give the yellow man
an easy breeze at blossom time.
Grant his eager, slanting eyes to cover
every land and dream
of afterwhile.

Give blue-eyed men their swivel chairs
to whirl in tall buildings.
Allow them many ships at sea,
and on land, soldiers
and policemen.

For black man, God,
no need to bother more
but only fill afresh his meed
of laughter,
his cup of tears.

God suffer little men
the taste of soul’s desire.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Arna Bontemps's poem God Give to Men


  1. Kat says:

    This is one of many deep poems I have read in quite some time. It characterizes men of all races and it speaks truth even today. It is evident that the same still holds true today – through all the struggles that the Black American man has endured. When will this world as we know it will make every man equal (Rhetorical question). I love how he talked about how this world is shaped and molded people into thinking about the different races. My how some things never change. GOD help us all!

  2. Cece says:

    Love How He Put This In Content And WAs Straight To The Point..

  3. Jakima Davis says:

    It seems like this poem is telling the story of the black man’s wants and needs.

  4. cebreud says:

    I find that this poem characterizes a general feeling in African-American writers of Bontemp’s time of the simplicity and urgency of the black man’s needs. However, I do disagree with the characterization of “yellow men” as “slant-eyed”

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