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 oh 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!
Paul Laurence Dunbar - 1872-1906
Summer in the South
The oriole sings in the greening grove As if he were half-way waiting, The rosebuds peep from their hoods of green, Timid and hesitating. The rain comes down in a torrent sweep And the nights smell warm and piney, The garden thrives, but the tender shoots Are yellow-green and tiny. Then a flash of sun on a waiting hill, Streams laugh that erst were quiet, The sky smiles down with a dazzling blue And the woods run mad with riot.