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Paul laurence dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar

POEMAS
SEGUIDORES
5

If you could sit with me beside the sea to-day,
And whisper with me sweetest dreamings o’er and o’er;
I think I should not find the clouds so dim and gray,
And not so loud the waves complaining at the shore.
If you could sit with me upon the shore to-day,
And hold my hand in yours as in the days of old,
I think I should not mind the chill baptismal spray,
Nor find my hand and heart and all the world so cold.
If you could walk with me upon the strand to-day,
And tell me that my longing love had won your own,
I think all my sad thoughts would then be put away,
And I could give back laughter for the Ocean’s moan!

GOD has his plans, and what if we
With our sight be too blind to see
Their full fruition; cannot he,
Who made it, solve the mystery?
One whom we loved has fall’n asleep,
Not died; although her calm be deep,
Some new, unknown, and strange surprise
In Heaven holds enrapt her eyes.
And can you blame her that her gaze
Is turned away from earthly ways,
When to her eyes God’s light and love
Have giv’n the view of things above?
A gentle spirit sweetly good,
The pearl of precious womanhood;
Who heard the voice of duty clear,
And found her mission soon and near.
She loved all nature, flowers fair,
The warmth of sun, the kiss of air,
The birds that filled the sky with song,
The stream that laughed its way along.
Her home to her was shrine and throne,
But one love held her not alone;
She sought out poverty and grief,
Who touched her robe and found relief.
So sped she in her Master’s work,
Too busy and too brave to shirk,
When through the silence, dusk and dim,
God called her and she fled to him.
We wonder at the early call,
And tears of sorrow can but fall
For her o’er whom we spread the pall;
But faith, sweet faith, is over all.
The house is dust, the voice is dumb,
But through undying years to come,
The spark that glowed within her soul
Shall light our footsteps to the goal.
She went her way; but oh, she trod
The path that led her straight to God.
Such lives as this put death to scorn;
They lose our day to find God’s morn.

Lucy done gone back on me,
Dat’s de way wif life.
Evaht’ing was movin’ free,
T’ought I had my wife.
Den some dahky comes along,
Sings my gal a little song,
Since den, evaht’ing’s gone wrong,
Evah day dey 's strife.

Did n’t answeh me to—day,
Wen I called huh name,
Would you t’ink she 'd ac’ dat way
Wen I ain’t to blame?
Dat 's de way dese women do,
Wen dey fin’s a fellow true,
Den dey 'buse him thoo an’ thoo;
Well, hit 's all de same.

Somep’n’s wrong erbout my lung,
An’ I ‘s glad hit ’s so.
Doctah says ‘at I ’ll die young,
Well, I wants to go!
Whut 's de use o’ livin’ hyeah,
Wen de gal you loves so deah,
Goes back on you clean an’ cleah—
I sh’d like to know?

I don’t believe in 'ristercrats
An’ never did, you see;
The plain ol’ homelike sorter folks
Is good enough fur me.
O’ course, I don’t desire a man
To be too tarnal rough,
But then, I think all folks should know
When they air nice enough.

Now there is folks in this here world,
From peasant up to king,
Who want to be so awful nice
They overdo the thing.
That’s jest the thing that makes me sick,
An’ quicker 'n a wink
I set it down that them same folks
Ain’t half so good 's you think.

I like to see a man dress nice,
In clothes becomin’ too;
I like to see a woman fix
As women orter to do;
An’ boys an’ gals I like to see
Look fresh an’ young an’ spry.—
We all must have our vanity
An’ pride before we die.

But I jedge no man by his clothes,—
Nor gentleman nor tramp;
The man that wears the finest suit
May be the biggest scamp,
An’ he whose limbs air clad in rags
That make a mournful sight,
In life’s great battle may have proved
A hero in the fight.

I don’t believe in 'ristercrats;
I like the honest tan
That lies upon the healthful cheek
An’ speaks the honest man;
I like to grasp the brawny hand
That labor’s lips have kissed,
For he who has not labored here
Life’s greatest pride has missed:

The pride to feel that yore own strength
Has cleaved fur you the way
To heights to which you were not born,
But struggled day by day.
What though the thousands sneer an’ scoff,
An’ scorn yore humble birth?
Kings are but puppets; you are king
By right o’ royal worth.

The man who simply sits an’ waits
Fur good to come along,
Ain’t worth the breath that one would take
To tell him he is wrong.
Fur good ain’t flowin’ round this world
Fur every fool to sup;
You 've got to put yore see—ers on,
An’ go an’ hunt it up.

Good goes with honesty, I say,
To honour an’ to bless;
To rich an’ poor alike it brings
A wealth o’ happiness.
The 'ristercrats ain’t got it all,
Fur much to their su’prise,
That’s one of earth’s most blessed things
They can’t monopolize.

The smell of the sea in my nostrils,
The sound of the sea in mine ears;
The touch of the spray on my burning face,
Like the mist of reluctant tears.

The blue of the sky above me,
The green of the waves beneath;
The sun flashing down on a gray—white sail
Like a scimitar from its sheath.

And ever the breaking billows,
And ever the rocks’ disdain;
And ever a thrill in mine inmost heart
That my reason cannot explain.

So I say to my heart, 'Be silent,
The mystery of time is here;
Death’s way will be plain when we fathom the main,
And the secret of life be clear.'

Dear critic, who my lightness so deplores,
Would I might study to be prince of bores,
Right wisely would I rule that dull estate—
But, sir, I may not, till you abdicate.

Kiss me, Miami, thou most constant one!
I love thee more for that thou changest not.
When Winter comes with frigid blast,
Or when the blithesome Spring is past
And Summer’s here with sunshine hot,
Or in sere Autumn, thou has still the pow’r
To charm alike, whate’er the hour.

Kiss me, Miami, with thy dewy lips;
Throbs fast my heart e’en as thine own breast beats.
My soul doth rise as rise thy waves,
As each on each the dark shore laves
And breaks in ripples and retreats.
There is a poem in thine every phase;
Thou still has sung through all thy days.

Tell me, Miami, how it was with thee
When years ago Tecumseh in his prime
His birch boat o’er thy waters sent,
And pitched upon thy banks his tent.
In that long—gone, poetic time,
Did some bronze bard thy flowing stream sit by
And sing thy praises, e’en as I?

Did some bronze lover 'neath this dark old tree
Whisper of love unto his Indian maid?
And didst thou list his murmurs deep,
And in thy bosom safely keep
The many raging vows they said?
Or didst thou tell to fish and frog and bird
The raptured scenes that there occurred?

But, O dear stream, what volumes thou couldst tell
To all who know thy language as I do,
Of life and love and jealous hate!
But now to tattle were too late,—
Thou who hast ever been so true.
Tell not to every passing idler here
All those sweet tales that reached thine ear.

But, silent stream, speak out and tell me this:
I say that men and things are still the same;
Were men as bold to do and dare?
Were women then as true and fair?
Did poets seek celestial flame,
The hero die to gain a laureled brow,
And women suffer, then as now?

She told her beads with down—cast eyes,
Within the ancient chapel dim;
And ever as her fingers slim
Slipt o’er th’ insensate ivories,
My rapt soul followed, spaniel—wise.
Ah, many were the beads she wore;
But as she told them o’er and o’er,
They did not number all my sighs.
My heart was filled with unvoiced cries
And prayers and pleadings unexpressed;
But while I burned with Love’s unrest,
She told her beads with down—cast eyes.

I STOOD by the shore at the death of day,
As the sun sank flaming red;
And the face of the waters that spread away
Was as gray as the face of the dead.
And I heard the cry of the wanton sea
And the moan of the wailing wind;
For love’s sweet pain in his heart had he,
But the gray old sea had sinned.
The wind was young and the sea was old,
But their cries went up together;
The wind was warm and the sea was cold,
For age makes wintry weather.
So they cried aloud and they wept amain,
Till the sky grew dark to hear it;
And out of its folds crept the misty rain,
In its shroud, like a troubled spirit.
For the wind was wild with a hopeless love,
And the sea was sad at heart
At many a crime that he wot of,
Wherein he had played his part.
He thought of the gallant ships gone down
By the will of his wicked waves;
And he thought how the churchyard in the town
Held the sea—made widows’ graves.
The wild wind thought of the love he had left
Afar in an Eastern land,
And he longed, as long the much bereft,
For the touch of her perfumed hand.
In his winding wail and his deep—heaved sigh
His aching grief found vent;
While the sea looked up at the bending sky
And murmured: ‘I repent.’
But e’en as he spoke, a ship came by,
That bravely ploughed the main,
And a light came into the sea’s green eye,
And his heart grew hard again.
Then he spoke to the wind: ‘Friend, seest thou not
Yon vessel is eastward bound?
Pray speed with it to the happy spot
Where thy loved one may be found.’
And the wind rose up in a dear delight,
And after the good ship sped;
But the crafty sea by his wicked might
Kept the vessel ever ahead.
Till the wind grew fierce in his despair,
And white on the brow and lip.
He tore his garments and tore his hair,
And fell on the flying ship.
And the ship went down, for a rock was there,
And the sailless sea loomed black;
While burdened again with dole and care,
The wind came moaning back.
And still he moans from his bosom hot
Where his raging grief lies pent,
And ever when the ships come not,
The sea says: ‘I repent,’

THERE’s a memory keeps a-runnin’
Through my weary head to-night,
An’ I see a picture dancin’
In the fire-flames’ ruddy-light;
'Tis the picture of an orchard
Wrapped in autumn’s purple haze,
With the tender light about it
That I loved in other days.
An’ a-standin’ in a corner
Once again I seem to see
The verdant leaves an’ branches
Of an old apple-tree.
You perhaps would call it ugly,
An’ I don’t know but it’s so,
When you look the tree all over
Unadorned by memory’s glow;
For its boughs are gnarled an’ crooked,
An’ its leaves are gettin’ thin,
An’ the apples of its bearin’
Wouldn’t fill so large a bin
As they used to. But I tell you,
When it comes to pleasin’ me,
It’s the dearest in the orchard, —
Is that old apple-tree.
I would hide within its shelter,
Settlin’ in some cosy nook,
Where no calls nor threats could stir me
From the pages o’ my book.
Oh, that quiet, sweet seclusion
In its fulness passeth words!
It was deeper than the deepest
That my sanctum now affords.
Why, the jaybirds an’ the robins,
They was hand in glove with me,
As they winked at me 'an warbled
In that old apple-tree.
It was on its sturdy branches
That in summers long ago
I would tie my swing an’ dangle
In contentment to an’ fro,
Idly dreaming’ childish fancies,
Buildin’ castles in the air,
Makin’ o’ myself a hero
Of romances rich an’ rare.
I kin shet my eyes an’ see it
Jest as plain as plain kin be,
That same old swing a-danglin’
To the old apple-tree.
There’s a rustic seat beneath it
That I never kin forget.
It’s the place where me an’ Hallie —
Little sweetheart —used to set,
When we’d wander to the orchard
So’s no listenin’ ones could hear
As I whispered sugared nonsense
Into her little willin’ ear.
Now my gray old wife is Hallie,
An’ I’m grayer still than she,
But I’ll not forget our courtin’
'Neath the old apple-tree,
Life for us ain’t all been summer,
But I guess we’ve had our share
Of its flittin’ joys an’ pleasures,
An’ a sprinklin’ of its care.
Oft the skies have smiled upon us;
Then again we’ve seen 'em frown,
Though our load was ne’er so heavy
That we longed to lay it down.
But when death does come a-callin’,
This my last request shall be, —
That they’ll bury me an’ Hallie
'Neath the old apple-tree.

1

Out of my heart, one day, I wrote a song,
With my heart’s blood imbued,
Instinct with passion, tremulously strong,
With grief subdued;
Breathing a fortitude
Pain—bought.
And one who claimed much love for what I wrought,
Read and considered it,
And spoke:
‘Ay, brother,—’t is well writ,
But where’s the joke?'

1

Summah 's nice, wif sun a—shinin’,
Spring is good wif greens and grass,
An’ dey 's some t’ings nice 'bout wintah,
Dough hit brings de freezin’ blas;
But de time dat is de fines’,
Whethah fiel’s is green er brown,
Is w’en de rain 's a—po’in’
An’ dey ‘s time to tinker ’roun.

Den you men’s de mule’s ol’ ha’ness,
An’ you men’s de broken chair.
Hummin’ all de time you 's wo’kin’
Some ol’ common kind o’ air.
Evah now an’ then you looks out,
Tryin’ mighty ha’d to frown,
But you cain’t, you ‘s glad hit ’s rainin’,
An’ dey ‘s time to tinker ’roun’.

Oh, you 'ten’s lak you so anxious
Evah time it so’t o’ stops.
W’en hit goes on, den you reckon
Dat de wet 'll he’p de crops.
But hit ain’t de crops you 's aftah;
You knows w’en de rain comes down
Dat’s hit’s too wet out fu’ wo’kin’,
An’ dey 's time to tinker roun’.

Oh, dey 's fun inside de co’n—crib.
An’ dey 's laffin’ at de ba’n;
An’ dey 's allus some one jokin’,
Er some one to tell a ya’n.
Dah 's a quiet in yo’ cabin,
Only fu’ de rain’s sof soun’;
So you 's mighty blessed happy
W’en dey ‘s time to tinker ’roun’!