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Paul laurence dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar

POEMS
FOLLOWERS
5

Folks is talkin’ ‘bout de money, ’bout de silvah an’ de gold;
All de time de season 's changin’ an’ de days is gittin’ cold.
An’ dey 's wond’rin’ 'bout de metals, whethah we’ll have one er two.
While de price o’ coal is risin’ an’ dey 's two months’ rent dat ‘s due.

Some folks says dat gold ’s de only money dat is wuff de name,
Den de othahs rise an’ tell 'em dat dey ought to be ashame,
An’ dat silvah is de only thing to save us f’om de powah
Of de gold—bug ragin’ 'roun’ an’ seekin’ who he may devowah.

Well, you folks kin keep on shoutin’ wif yo’ gold er silvah cry,
But I tell you people hams is sceerce an’ fowls is roostin’ high.
An’ hit ain’t de so’t o’ money dat is pesterin’ my min’,
But de question I want answehed 's how to get at any kin’!

DINAH stan’ befo’ de glass,
Lookin’ moughty neat,
An’ huh purty shadder sass
At huh haid an’ feet.
While she sasshay 'roun’ an’ bow,
Smilin’ den an’ poutin’ now,
An’ de lookin’—glass, I ‘low
Say: ’Now, ain’t she sweet?'
All she do, de glass it see,
Hit des see, no mo’,
Seems to me, hit ought to be
Drappin’ on de flo’.
She go w’en huh time git slack,
Kissin’ han’s an’ smilin’ back,
Lawsy, how my lips go smack,
Watchin’ at de do’.
Wisht I was huh lookin’—glass,
W’en she kissed huh han’;
Does you t’ink I’d let it pass,
Settin’ on de stan’?
No; I’d des’ fall down an’ break,
Kin’ o’ glad 't uz fu’ huh sake;
But de diffunce, dat whut make
Lookin’—glass an’ man.

It may be misery not to sing at all,
And to go silent through the brimming day;
It may be misery never to be loved,
But deeper griefs than these beset the way.

To sing the perfect song,
And by a half—tone lost the key,
There the potent sorrow, there the grief,
The pale, sad staring of Life’s Tragedy.

To have come near to the perfect love,
Not the hot passion of untempered youth,
But that which lies aside its vanity,
And gives, for thy trusting worship, truth.

This, this indeed is to be accursed,
For if we mortals love, or if we sing,
We count our joys not by what we have,
But by what kept us from that perfect thing.

Dey been speakin’ at de cou’t—house,
An’ laws—a—massy me,
'T was de beatness kin’ o’ doin’s
Dat evah I did see.
Of cose I had to be dah
In de middle o’ de crowd,
An’ I hallohed wid de othahs,
Wen de speakah riz and bowed.

I was kind o’ disapp’inted
At de smallness of de man,
Case I 'd allus pictered great folks
On a mo’ expansive plan;
But I t’ought I could respect him
An’ tek in de wo’ds he said,
Fu’ dey sho was somp’n knowin’
In de bald spot on his haid.

But hit did seem so’t o’ funny
Aftah waitin’ fu’ a week
Dat de people kep’ on shoutin’
So de man des could n’t speak;
De ho’ns dey blared a little,
Den dey let loose on de drums,—.
Some one toll me dey was playin’
'See de conkerin’ hero comes.'

‘Well,’ says I, ‘you all is white folks,
But you ’s sutny actin’ queer,
What’s de use of heroes comin’
Ef dey cain’t talk w’en dey’s here?'
Aftah while dey let him open,
An’ dat man he waded in,
An’ he fit de wahs all ovah
Winnin’ victeries lak sin.

Wen he come down to de present,
Den he made de feathahs fly.
He des waded in on money,
An’ he played de ta’iff high.
An’ he said de colah question,
Hit was ovah, solved, an’ done,
Dat de dahky was his brothah,
Evah blessed mothah’s son.

Well he settled all de trouble
Dat’s been pesterin’ de lan’,
Den he set down mid de cheerin’
An’ de playin’ of de ban’.
I was feelin’ moughty happy
‘Twell I hyeahed somebody speak,
’Well, dat’s his side of de bus’ness,
But you wait for Jones nex’ week.'

W’EN de clouds is hangin’ heavy in de sky,
An’ de win’s 's a—taihin’ moughty vig’rous by,
I don’ go a—sighin’ all erlong de way;
I des’ wo’k a—waitin’ fu’ de close o’ day.
Case I knows w’en evenin’ draps huh shadders down,
I won’ care a smidgeon fu’ de weathah’s frown;
Let de rain go splashin’, let de thundah raih,
Dey’s a happy sheltah, an’ I’s goin’ daih.
Down in my ol’ cabin wa’m ez mammy’s toas’,
'Taters in de fiah layin’ daih to roas’;
No one daih to cross me, got no talkin’ pal
But I’s got de comp’ny o’ my sweet brown gal.
So I spen’s my evenin’ listenin’ to huh sing,
Lak a blessid angel; how huh voice do ring!
Sweetah den a bluebird flutterin’ erroun’,
W’en he sees de steamin’ o’ de new ploughed groun’.
Den I hugs huh closah, closah to my breas’.
Need n’t sing, my da’lin’, tek you’ hones’ res’.
Does I mean Malindy, Mandy, Lize er Sal?
No, I means my fiddle—dat’s my sweet brown gal!

Air a—gittin’ cool an’ coolah,
Frost a—comin’ in de night,
Hicka’ nuts an’ wa’nuts fallin’,
Possum keepin’ out o’ sight.
Tu’key struttin’ in de ba’nya’d,
Nary a step so proud ez his;
Keep on struttin’, Mistah Tu’key,
Yo’ do’ know whut time it is.
Cidah press commence a—squeakin’
Eatin’ apples sto’ed away,
Chillun swa’min’ 'roun’ lak ho’nets,
Huntin’ aigs ermung de hay.
Mistah Tu’key keep on gobblin’
At de geese a—flyin’ souf,
Oomph! dat bird do’ know whut’s comin’;
Ef he did he’d shet his mouf.
Pumpkin gittin’ good an’ yallah
Mek me open up my eyes;
Seems lak it’s a—lookin’ at me
Jes’ a—la’in’ dah sayin’ “Pies.”
Tu’key gobbler gwine 'roun’ blowin’,
Gwine 'roun’ gibbin’ sass an’ slack;
Keep on talkin’, Mistah Tu’key,
You ain’t seed no almanac.
Fa’mer walkin’ th’oo de ba’nya’d
Seein’ how things is comin’ on,
Sees ef all de fowls is fatt’nin’ —
Good times comin’ sho’s you bo’n.
Hyeahs dat tu’key gobbler braggin’,
Den his face break in a smile —
Nebbah min’, you sassy rascal,
He’s gwine nab you atter while.
Choppin’ suet in de kitchen,
Stonin’ raisins in de hall,
Beef a—cookin’ fu’ de mince meat,
Spices groun’ —I smell 'em all.
Look hyeah, Tu’key, stop dat gobblin’,
You ain’ luned de sense ob feah,
You ol’ fool, yo’ naik’s in dangah,
Do’ you know Thanksgibbin’s hyeah?

A BLUE—BELL springs upon the ledge,
A lark sits singing in the hedge;
Sweet perfumes scent the balmy air,
And life is brimming everywhere.
What lark and breeze and bluebird sing,
Is Spring, Spring, Spring!
No more the air is sharp and cold;
The planter wends across the wold,
And, glad, beneath the shining sky
We wander forth, my love and I.
And ever in our hearts doth ring
This song of Spring, Spring!
For life is life and love is love,
'Twixt maid and man or dove and dove.
Life may be short, life may be long,
But love will come, and to its song
Shall this refrain for ever cling
Of Spring, Spring, Spring!

DE win’ is blowin’ wahmah,
An hit’s blowin’ f’om de bay;
Dey’s a so’t o’ mist a—risin’
All erlong de meddah way;
Dey ain’t a hint o’ frostin’
On de groun’ ner in de sky,
An’ dey ain’t no use in hopin’
Dat de snow’ll 'mence to fly.
It’s goin’ to be a green Christmas,
An’ sad de day fu’ me.
I wish dis was de las’ one
Dat evah I should see.
Dey’s dancin’ in de cabin,
Dey’s spahkin’ by de tree;
But dancin’ times an’ spahkin’
Are all done pas’ fur me.
Dey’s feastin’ in de big house,
Wid all de windahs wide —
Is dat de way fu’ people
To meet de Christmas—tide?
It’s goin’ to be a green Christmas,
No mattah what you say.
Dey’s us dat will remembah
An’ grieve de comin’ day.
Dey’s des a bref o’ dampness
A—clingin’ to my cheek;
De aih’s been dahk an’ heavy
An’ threatenin’ fu’ a week,
But not wid signs o’ wintah,
Dough wintah’d seem so deah —
De wintah’s out o’ season,
An’ Christmas eve is heah.
It’s goin’ to be a green Christmas,
An’ oh, how sad de day!
Go ax de hongry chu’chya’d,
An’ see what hit will say.
Dey’s Allen on de hillside,
An’ Marfy in de plain;
Fu’ Christmas was like springtime,
An’ come wid sun an’ rain.
Dey’s Ca’line, John, an’ Susie,
Wid only dis one lef’:
An’ now de curse is comin’
Wid murder in hits bref.
It’s goin’ to be a green Christmas —
Des hyeah my words an’ see:
Befo’ de summah beckons
Dey’s many’ll weep wid me.

Prometheus stole from Heaven the sacred fire
And swept to earth with it o’er land and sea.
He lit the vestal flames of poesy,
Content, for this, to brave celestial ire.

Wroth were the gods, and with eternal hate
Pursued the fearless one who ravished Heaven
That earth might hold in fee the perfect leaven
To lift men’s souls above their low estate.

But judge you now, when poets wield the pen,
Think you not well the wrong has been repaired?
'Twas all in vain that ill Prometheus fared:
The fire has been returned to Heaven again!

We have no singers like the ones whose note
Gave challenge to the noblest warbler’s song.
We have no voice so mellow, sweet, and strong
As that which broke from Shelley’s golden throat.

The measure of our songs is our desires:
We tinkle where old poets used to storm.
We lack their substance tho’ we keep their form:
We strum our banjo—strings and call them lyres.

TIM Murphy’s gon’ walkin’ wid Maggie O’Neill,
O chone!
If I was her muther, I’d frown on sich foolin’,
O chone!
I’m sure its unmutherlike, darin’ an’ wrong
To let a gyrul hear 'tell the sass an’ the song
Of every young felly that happens along,
O chone!
An’ Murphy, the things that’s be’n sed of his doin’,
O chone!
'Tis a cud that no dacent folks wants to be chewin’,
O chone!
If he came to my door wid his cane on a twirl,
Fur to thry to make love to you, Biddy, my girl,
Ah, wouldn’t I send him away wid a whirl,
O chone!
They say the gossoon is indecent and dirty,
O chone!
In spite of his dressin’ so.
O chone!
Let him dress up ez foine ez a king or a queen,
Let him put on more wrinkles than ever was seen,
You’ll be sure he’s no match for my little colleen,
O chone!
Faith the two is comin’ back an’ their walk is all over,
O chone!
'Twas a pretty short walk fur to take wid a lover,
O chone!
Why, I believe that Tim Murphy’s a kumin’ this way,
Ah, Biddy jest look at him steppin’ so gay,
I’d niver belave what the gossipers say,
O chone!
He’s turned in the gate an’ he’s coming a caperin’,
O chone!
Go Biddy, go quick an’ put on a clane apern,
O chone!
Be quick as ye kin fur he’s right at the dure;
Come in, master Tim, fur ye’re welcome I’m shure.
We were talkin’ o’ ye jest a minute before.
O chone!

Duck come switchin’ 'cross de lot
Hi, oh, Miss Lady!
Hurry up an’ hide de pot
Hi, oh, Miss Lady!
Duck’s a mighty 'spicious fowl,
Slick as snake an’ wise as owl;
Hol’ dat dog, don’t let him yowl!
Hi, oh, Miss Lady!

Th’ow dat co’n out kind o’ slow
Hi, oh, Miss Lady!
Keep yo’se’f behin’ de do’
Hi, oh, Miss Lady!
Lots o’ food’ll kill his feah,
Co’n is cheap but fowls is deah—
‘Come, good ducky, come on heah.’
Hi, oh, Miss Lady!

Ain’t he fat and ain’t he fine,
Hi, oh, Miss Lady!
Des can’t wait to make him mine.
Hi, oh, Miss Lady!
See him waddle when he walk,
'Sh! keep still and don’t you talk!
Got you! Don’t you daih to squawk!
Hi, oh, Miss Lady!

In the heavy earth the miner
Toiled and laboured day by day,
Wrenching from the miser mountain
Brilliant treasure where it lay.
And the artist worn and weary
Wrought with labour manifold
That the king might drink his nectar
From a goblet made of gold.

On the prince’s groaning table
Mid the silver gleaming bright
Mirroring the happy faces
Giving back the flaming light,
Shine the cups of priceless crystal
Chased with many a lovely line,
Glowing now with warmer colour,
Crimsoned by the ruby wine.

In a valley sweet with sunlight,
Fertile with the dew and rain,
Without miner’s daily labour,
Without artist’s nightly pain,
There there grows the cup I drink from,
Summer’s sweetness in it stored,
And my lips pronounce a blessing
As they touch an old brown gourd.

Why, the miracle at Cana
In the land of Galilee,
Tho’ it puzzles all the scholars,
Is no longer strange to me.
For the poorest and the humblest
Could a priceless wine afford,
If they 'd only dip up water
With a sunlight—seasoned gourd.

So a health to my old comrade,
And a song of praise to sing
When he rests inviting kisses
In his place beside the spring.
Give the king his golden goblets,
Give the prince his crystal hoard;
But for me the sparkling water
From a brown and brimming gourd!