Friday, September 22, 2006

We Wear The Mask

Was talking with my new best friend Eric B. last night about the African American history and literature courses we took in our respective universities in undergrad.

And I was reminded of my attempt to be teacher's pet and recite the following poem we memorized in high school in front of about 200 people... until I was humbly brought back to Earth when I forgot the last stanza.

Dr. Walter Daniel didn't give me extra credit, but gave me the props for trying and not being embarassed to take a chance... But what a dork I was for forgetting the LAST stanza!

Anyway, it's a great poem written by one of our best we should know about... Paul Laurence Dunbar.

Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)
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 over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!

1 comment:

Rahman said...

This one of my favorite works from Dunbar. Thanks for reintroducing this genius!