Archives For Paul Laurence Dunbar

 

This week marked the anniversary of the death of poet Paul Laurence Dunbar.

In remembrance of his life and work, here are five of our favorite poems by him…

Frederick Douglass
Paul Laurence Dunbar

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Quote of the Day:
“I am suspicious of writers who say their work is original and influenced by nobody. If it is, it is probably uninteresting. The biggest source of novels is other novels.
– Novelist Teju Cole
Author of Open City

 
Poem of the Day:
“Summer in the South”
by Paul Laurence Dunbar,
Born on this day 1872
 
Kindle Ebook of the Day:
Signs and Wonders: A Novel
(Book 3 in the Harmony Series)
by Philip Gulley – Only $2.99!!!
[Book #1 and Book #2 also on sale!]
*** Read our recent interview with Philip Gulley about his Quaker faith
 
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The Wake Up Call – June 27, 2014

 

A Thanksgiving Poem
Paul Laurence Dunbar

The sun hath shed its kindly light,
Our harvesting is gladly o’er,
Our fields have felt no killing blight,
Our bins are filled with goodly store.

From pestilence, fire, ‘flood, and sword
We have been spared by thy decree,
And now with humble hearts, O Lord,
We come to pay our thanks to thee.

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“A Winter’s Day”
Paul Laurence Dunbar

Across the hills and down the narrow ways,
And up the valley where the free winds sweep,
The earth is folded in an ermined sleep
That mocks the melting mirth of myriad Mays.
Departed her disheartening duns and grays,
And all her crusty black is covered deep.
Dark streams are locked in Winter’s donjon-keep,
And made to shine with keen, unwonted rays.
O icy mantle, and deceitful snow!
What world-old liars in your hearts ye are!
Are there not still the darkened seam and scar
Beneath the brightness that you fain would show?
Come from the cover with thy blot and blur,
O reeking Earth, thou whited sepulchre!

“A Winter’s Day” Paul Laurence DunbarAcross the hills and down the narrow ways,And up the valley where the free winds sweep,The earth is folded in an ermined sleepThat mocks the melting mirth of myriad Mays.Departed her disheartening duns and grays,And all her crusty black is covered deep.Dark streams are locked in Winter’s donjon-keep,And made to shine with keen, unwonted rays.O icy mantle, and deceitful snow!What world-old liars in your hearts ye are!Are there not still the darkened seam and scarBeneath the brightness that you fain would show?Come from the cover with thy blot and blur,O reeking Earth, thou whited sepulchre!

 

 
Frederick Douglass
By Paul Laurence Dunbar
 
 
 
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.'
 
For her his voice, a fearless clarion, rung
That broke in warning on the ears of men;
For her the strong bow of his pow'r he strung
And sent his arrows to the very den
Where grim Oppression held his bloody place
And gloated o'er the mis'ries of a race.
 
And he was no soft-tongued apologist;
He spoke straight-forward, fearlessly uncowed;
The sunlight of his truth dispelled the mist
And set in bold relief each dark-hued cloud;
To sin and crime he gave their proper hue,
And hurled at evil what was evil's due.
 
Thro' good and ill report he cleaved his way
Right onward, with his face set toward the heights,
Nor feared to face the foeman's dread array--
The lash of scorn, the sting of petty spites.
He dared the lightning in the lightning's track,
And answered thunder with his thunder back.
 
When men maligned him and their torrent wrath
In furious imprecations o'er him broke,
He kept his counsel as he kept his path;
'Twas for his race, not for himself, he spoke.
He knew the import of his Master's call
And felt himself too mighty to be small.
 
No miser in the good he held was he--
His kindness followed his horizon's rim.
His heart, his talents and his hands were free
To all who truly needed aught of him.
Where poverty and ignorance were rife,
He gave his bounty as he gave his life.
 
The place and cause that first aroused his might
Still proved its pow'r until his latest day.
In Freedom's lists and for the aid of Right
Still in the foremost rank he waged the fray;
Wrong lived; His occupation was not gone.
He died in action with his armor on!
 
We weep for him, but we have touched his hand,
And felt the magic of his presence nigh,
The current that he sent thro' out the land,
The kindling spirit of his battle-cry
O'er all that holds us we shall triumph yet
And place our banner where his hopes were set!
 
Oh, Douglass, thou hast passed beyond the shore,
But still thy voice is ringing o'er the gale!
Thou 'st taught thy race how high her hopes may soar
And bade her seek the heights, nor faint, nor fail.
She will not fail, she heeds thy stirring cry,
She knows thy guardian spirit will be nigh,
And rising from beneath the chast'ning rod,
She stretches out her bleeding hands to God!