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Posts Tagged ‘Paul Laurence Dunbar’

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?”

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She told the story, and the whole world wept
At wrongs and cruelties it had not known
But for this fearless woman’s voice alone.
She spoke to consciences that long had slept:
Her message, Freedom’s clear reveille, swept
From heedless hovel to complacent throne.
Command and prophecy were in the tone
And from its sheath the sword of justice leapt.
Around two peoples swelled a fiery wave,
But both came forth transfigured from the flame.
Blest be the hand that dared be strong to save,
And blest be she who in our weakness came –
Prophet and priestess! At one stroke she gave
A race to freedom and herself to fame.

 

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…………………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 birds 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!

 

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Stoney End Brittany Double-Strung Lap Harp in ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

             The Master-Player

 An old, worn harp that had been played
Till all its strings were loose and frayed,
Joy, Hate, and Fear, each one essayed,
To play.  But each in turn had found
No sweet responsiveness of sound.

Then Love the Master-Player came
With heaving breast and eyes aflame;
The Harp he took all undismayed,
Smote on its strings, still strange to song,
And brought forth music sweet and strong.

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The Debt

This is the debt I pay
Just for one riotous day, –
Years of regret and grief,
Sorrow without relief.

Pay it I will to the end –
Until the grave, my friend,
Gives me a true release,
Gives me the clasp of peace.

Slight was the thing I bought,
Small was the debt, I thought,
Poor was the loan at best –
God! but the interest!

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