Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, WE WEAR THE MASK, by PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

WE WEAR THE MASK, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: We wear the mask that grins and lies
Last Line: We wear the mask!
Subject(s): African Americans; Grief; Hypocrisy; Racism; Negroes; American Blacks; Sorrow; Sadness; Racial Prejudice; Bigotry

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!

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