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Poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar

The Poet and His Song

  A song is but a little thing,
  And yet what joy it is to sing!
  In hours of toil it gives me zest,
  And when at eve I long for rest;
  When cows come home along the bars,
    And in the fold I hear the bell,
  As Night, the shepherd, herds his stars,
    I sing my song, and all is well.

  There are no ears to hear my lays,
  No lips to lift a word of praise;
  But still, with faith unfaltering,
  I live and laugh and love and sing.
  What matters yon unheeding throng?
    They cannot feel my spirit's spell,
  Since life is sweet and love is long,
    I sing my song, and all is well.

  My days are never days of ease;
  I till my ground and prune my trees.
  When ripened gold is all the plain,
  I put my sickle to the grain.
  I labor hard, and toil and sweat,
    While others dream within the dell;
  But even while my brow is wet,
    I sing my song, and all is well.

  Sometimes the sun, unkindly hot,
  My garden makes a desert spot;
  Sometimes a blight upon the tree
  Takes all my fruit away from me;
  And then with throes of bitter pain
    Rebellious passions rise and swell;
  But--life is more than fruit or grain,
    And so I sing, and all is well.

Paul Laurence Dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar's other poems:
  1. Whittier
  2. The Master-Player
  3. The Rising of the Storm
  4. Not They Who Soar
  5. Unexpressed

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