Friday, February 15, 2008

POETRY FRIDAY: Three Poems by Paul Laurence Dunbar

I'm posting three poems by Paul Laurence Dunbar in honor of Black History Month.


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!

You can read the rest of the poem here.

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 overwise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.

You can read the rest of the poem here.

Frederick Douglass

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
And vapors that obscure the sun of life.
And Ethiopia, with bosom torn,
Laments the passing of her noblest born.

She weeps for him a mother's burning tears--
She loved him with a mother's deepest love.
He was her champion thro' direful years,
And held her weal all other ends above.
When Bondage held her bleeding in the dust,
He raised her up and whispered, "Hope and Trust."

You can read the rest of the poem here.

Click here to read more about Paul Laurence Dunbar.

At Wild Rose Reader, I have some short metaphor poems that I wrote for Miss Rumphius's Poetry Stretch this week.

Check out my earlier post Book Bunch: Looking at Langston Hughes. It includes a review of Tony Medina's poetry book Love to Langston and links to several poems written by Hughes.

HipWriterMama has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week.


tanita✿davis said...

Ah, We Wear the Mask was one of my favorites in high school - it's appropriately angsty and chock full of metaphors of the kind I loved. I hadn't thought of it in ages - thanks for sharing it.

laurasalas said...

Elaine, These are devastating. I especially love We Wear the Mask. Thank you for sharing these.

Elaine Magliaro said...

Tadmack and Laura,

Isn't it great to have all these wonderful poems on the Internet? When looking for poems to post on Poetry Fridays, I often go wandering through the different websites and seem to get lost in a world of poems. For me, that's a pleasure.

Vivian Mahoney said...

We Wear the Mask...Wow! Love it.

Elaine Magliaro said...


"We Wear the Mask" brings to mind the poem "Minstrel Man" by Langston Hughes. I love Hughes' children's poetry book "The Dream Keeper."