Poet Paul Laurence Dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar Poems

  • 1.  
    They please me not-these solemn songs
    That hint of sermons covered up.'Tis true the world should heed its wrongs,
  • 2.  
    Seen my lady home las' night,
    Jump back, honey, jump back.Hel' huh han' an' sque'z it tight,
  • 3.  
    O Lord, the hard-won miles
    Have worn my stumbling feet:Oh, soothe me with thy smiles,
  • 4.  
    Folks ain't got no right to censuah othah folks about dey habits;
    Him dat giv' de squir'ls de bushtails made de bobtails fu' de rabbits.Him dat built de gread big mountains hollered out de little valleys,
  • 5.  
    A lilt and a swing,
    And a ditty to sing, Or ever the night grow old;
  • 6.  
    Apple blossoms falling o'er thee,
    And the month is May,Laden bows bend low before thee,
  • 7.  
    I like to hear of wealth and gold,
    And El Doradoes in their glory;I like for silks and satins bold
  • 8.  
    He was a poet who wrote clever verses,
    And folks said he had a fine poetical taste;But his father, a practical farmer, accused him
  • 9.  
    Seen you down at chu'ch las' night,
    Nevah min', Miss Lucy.What I mean? oh, dat 's all right,
  • 10.  
    “I am but clay,” the sinner plead,
    Who fed each vain desire.“Not only clay,” another said,
  • 11.  
    Ah, Douglass, we have fall'n on evil days,
    Such days as thou, not even thou didst know, When thee, the eyes of that harsh long ago
  • 12.  
    Ere sleep comes down to soothe the weary eyes,
    Which all the day with ceaseless care have soughtThe magic gold which from the seeker flies;
  • 13.  
    A hush is over all the teeming lists,
    And there is pause, a breath-space in the strife;A spirit brave has passed beyond the mists
  • 14.  
    If I could but forget
    The fullness of those first sweet days,When you burst sun-like thro' the haze
  • 15.  
    A crust of bread and a corner to sleep in,
    A minute to smile and an hour to weep in,A pint of joy to a peck of trouble,
  • 16.  
    It may be misery not to sing at all
    And to go silent through the brimming day.It may be sorrow never to be loved,
  • 17.  
    Little brown baby wif spa'klin' eyes,
    Come to yo' pappy an' set on his knee.What you been doin', suh-makin' san' pies?
  • 18.  
    It's all a farce,-these tales they tell
    About the breezes sighing,And moans astir o'er field and dell,
  • 19.  
    Come to the pane, draw the curtain apart,
    There she is passing, the girl of my heart;See where she walks like a queen in the street,
  • 20.  
    October is the treasurer of the year,
    And all the months pay bounty to her store;The fields and orchards still their tribute bear,
  • 21.  
    I have seen peoples come and go
    Alike the Ocean'd ebb and flow;I have seen kingdoms rise and fall
  • 22.  
    A maiden wept and, as a comforter,
    Came one who cried, “I love thee,” and he seizedHer in his arms and kissed her with hot breath,
  • 23.  
    I grew a rose within a garden fair,
    And, tending it with more than loving care,I thought how, with the glory of its bloom,
  • 24.  
    “Thou art a fool,” said my head to my heart,
    “Indeed, the greatest of fools thou art, To be led astray by the trick of a tress,
  • 25.  
    Out in the sky the great dark clouds are massing;
    I look far out into the pregnant night,Where I can hear a solemn booming gun
  • 26.  
    Air a-gittin' cool an' coolah,
    Frost a-comin' in de night,Hicka' nuts an' wa'nuts fallin',
  • 27.  
    My heart to thy heart,
    My hand to thine; My lip to thy lips,
  • 28.  
    Wintah, summah, snow er shine,
    Hit's all de same to me,Ef only I kin call you mine,
  • 29.  
    The Oriole sings in the greening grove
    As if he were half-way waiting, The rosebuds peep from their hoods of green,
  • 30.  
    The river sleeps beneath the sky,
    And clasps the shadows to its breast;The crescent moon shines dim on high;
  • 31.  
    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,
  • 32.  
    This is the debt I pay
    Just for one riotous day,Years of regret and grief,
  • 33.  
    He scribbles some in prose and verse,
    And now and then he prints it;He paints a little,-gathers some
  • 34.  
    Pray why are you so bare, so bare,
    Oh, bough of the old oak-tree;And why, when I go through the shade you throw,
  • 35.  
    I ‘ve been list'nin' to them lawyers
    In the court house up the street,An' I ‘ve come to the conclusion
  • 36.  
    My cot was down by a cypress grove,
    And I sat by my window the whole night long,And heard well up from the deep dark wood
  • 37.  
    When a woman looks up at you with a twist about her eyes,
    And her brows are half uplifted in a nicely feigned surpriseAs you breathe some pretty sentence, though she hates you all the while,
  • 38.  
    I was not; now I am-a few days hence
    I shall not be; I fain would look beforeAnd after, but can neither do; some Power
  • 39.  
    There's a memory keeps a-runnin'
    Through my weary head to-night,An' I see a picture dancin'
  • 40.  
    W'en daih 's chillun in de house,
    Dey keep on a-gittin' tall;But de folks don' seem to see
  • 41.  
    I am the mother of sorrows,
    I am the ender of grief;I am the bud and the blossom,
  • 42.  
    A song is but a little thing,
    And yet what joy it is to sing!In hours of toil it gives me zest,
  • 43.  
    The lake's dark breast
    Is all unrest,It heaves with a sob and a sigh.
  • 44.  
    As a quiet little seedling
    Lay within its darksome bed,To itself it fell a-talking,
  • 45.  
    There is a heaven, for ever, day by day,
    The upward longing of my soul doth tell me so.There is a hell, I ‘m quite as sure; for pray,
  • 46.  
    We wear the mask that grins and lies,
    It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,-This debt we pay to human guile;
  • 47.  
    Dey is times in life when Nature
    Seems to slip a cog an' go,Jes' a-rattlin' down creation,
  • 48.  
    De axes has been ringin' in de woods de blessid day,
    An' de chips has been a-fallin' fa' an' thick;Dey has cut de bigges' hick'ry dat de mules kin tote away,
  • 49.  
    Oh, dere 's lots o' keer an' trouble
    In dis world to swaller down;An' ol' Sorrer 's purty lively
  • 50.  
    Oh, I have n't got long to live, for we all
    Die soon, e'en those who live longest;And the poorest and weakest are taking their chance
Total 513 poems written by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Poem of the day

The Dome Of Sunday
 by Karl Shapiro

With focus sharp as Flemish-painted face
In film of varnish brightly fixed
And through a polished hand-lens deeply seen,
Sunday at noon through hyaline thin air
Sees down the street,
And in the camera of my eye depicts
Row-houses and row-lives:
Glass after glass, door after door the same,
...

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