The poem consists of three stanzas and it is formed on quatrains. In the first stanza the black man talks about the fear that he would not have a good harvest because the wind or birds could take the seed away. Actually the action of “planting” is metaphorical and means that this black man has fears for the future, which seems disappointing to him. That is he “plants” his labor for a better future.
In the second stanza the man says that even though he had enough seeds planted in rows from Canada to Mexico his harvest was still poor. His labor is in vain again. Possibly here, the speaker refers to a period when black people who lived in America («in rows from Canada to Mexico») had had hard times copying with their life.
In the third stanza the man says that his children have to feed on very few products while the children of his brother have enough food ensured. “His brother’s sons” except for being his nephews could possibly represent the white people. Here the man expresses his bitterness because his “brother’s sons” had a good harvest, whereas his own “children”, which again could represent the black people had bad luck and their struggles did go straw. The third stanza is also the crux of the poem because here we watch the conclusion of what the black man had to say. He planted, and now it is the time for reaping and facing the results. Also it is this stanza that the man expresses his racial feeling of injustice that black people have in front of white.
Thus, “planting” symbolizes the black people’s fears and labor for a better future and “reaping” the result that is still the same, as they are destined to have always an ominous fate.
Throughout the poem we have the imagery of nature, as the poem talks about something that takes place in the nature. Reading...