Black Poetry : "We Wear The Mask" by Paul Laurence Dunbar, 1896

skuderjaymes

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We Wear the Mask

WE wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!​
 

HODEE

Alonewolf
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Jul 2, 2003
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Paul Laurence Dunbar

Brother skuderjaymes
I was read his poetry since I was three.
Yes I recall some things that far back. My memory is pretty good.
One of my sisters has a book of all his poetry.
That book has become an issue, because it is believed to be lost.
If another of my sisters find out that book still exist and is being with held there would be some :kick:ing and screaming.

I like this particular poem because of what he was sharing and expressing.
On line you can find discussions about this poem and it's line by line meanings and interpretations discussed over the years.

Paul Laurence Dunbar wrote many of his poems in what is termed ebonics.

But those poems are acclaimed and famous.

Lord have mercy on our souls, dont you dare touch dem der rolls.
Bless the food we bout to eat
You sit still I see yo feets
You jes try that trick agin.
Give us peace and joy amen.
That is an exert from one I grew up on.
 

HODEE

Alonewolf
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Jul 2, 2003
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No use turnin to that wall. I can hear that mattress squeeze, Dont you hear me when I speak? Dis here clock done stroke off six. Caroline bring me them there sticks. Oh you down son, oh you down. dont you dare to frown. March your self and wash you face. and dont you splatter all da place. I got
other things to do just sides cleaning up after you. take that comb and fix
your hair, it looks just like a feather bed. Sit down at that table there,
just whimper if you dare. Lord have mercy on our soul, Boy dont you dare to touch them rolls. Bless dis food we gonna eat, sit still I see your feet! You just try that trick again! Lord gain us joy and peace Amen.

His eloquent writings and his use of Ebonics are appreciated all over the world
The poem above I grew up with. It was one of favorites.
:wave:
His poetry is read all over the world.. check this out!​
===============


Paul Laurence Dunbar - Little Brown Baby

Little brown baby wif spa'klin' eyes,
Come to yo' pappy an' set on his knee.
What you been doin', suh -- makin' san' pies?
Look at dat bib -- you's es du'ty ez me.
Look at dat mouf -- dat's merlasses, I bet;
Come hyeah, Maria, an' wipe off his han's.
Bees gwine to ketch you an' eat you up yit,
Bein' so sticky an sweet -- goodness lan's!
Little brown baby wif spa'klin' eyes,
Who's pappy's darlin' an' who's pappy's chile?
Who is it all de day nevah once tries
Fu' to be cross, er once loses dat smile?
Whah did you git dem teef? My, you's a scamp!
Whah did dat dimple come f'om in yo' chin?
Pappy do' know you -- I b'lieves you's a tramp;
Mammy, dis hyeah's some ol' straggler got in!

Let's th'ow him outen de do' in de san',
We do' want stragglers a-layin' 'roun' hyeah;
Let's gin him 'way to de big buggah-man;
I know he's hidin' erroun' hyeah right neah.
Buggah-man, buggah-man, come in de do',
Hyeah's a bad boy you kin have fu' to eat.
Mammy an' pappy do' want him no mo',
Swaller him down f'om his haid to his feet!

Dah, now, I t'ought dat you'd hug me up close.
Go back, ol' buggah, you sha'n't have dis boy.
He ain't no tramp, ner no straggler, of co'se;
He's pappy's pa'dner an' play-mate an' joy.
Come to you' pallet now -- go to yo' res';
Wisht you could allus know ease an' cleah skies;
Wisht you could stay jes' a chile on my breas'--
Little brown baby wif spa'klin' eyes!



================

This poem is about the Black man and him being a slave!


Paul Laurence Dunbar - Sympathy

I know what the caged bird feels, alas! When the sun is bright on the upland slopes; When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass, And the river flows like a stream of glass; When the first bird sings and the first bud opes, And the faint perfume from its chalice steals-- I know what the caged bird feels! I know why the caged bird beats his wing Till its blood is red on the cruel bars; For he must fly back to his perch and cling When he fain would be on the bough a-swing; And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars And they pulse again with a keener sting-- I know why he beats his wing! I know why the caged bird sings, ah me, When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,-- When he beats his bars and he would be free; It is not a carol of joy or glee, But a prayer that he sends from his heart's deep core, But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings-- I know why the caged bird sings!
 

skuderjaymes

Contextualizer Synthesizer
MEMBER
Nov 2, 2009
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theory to application to discussion to percussion
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yeah.. I've been into his work for a minute myself..

I go back and reread his work every now and then.. it's so surprising how hard
it hits over 100 years later.. he really reached down into himself and expressed
these things in a way that still communicates to his great grandchildren's
generation.. that's something to strive for.
 
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