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Paul Laurence Dunbar

(1872-1906 / Ohio / United States)

At Night


Whut time 'd dat clock strike?
Nine? No--eight;
I didn't think hit was so late.
Aer chew! I must 'a' got a cough,
I raally b'lieve I did doze off--
Hit's mighty soothin' to de tiah,
A-dozin' dis way by de fiah;
Oo oom--hit feels so good to stretch
I sutny is one weary wretch!

Look hyeah, dat boy done gone to sleep!
He des ain't wo'th his boa'd an' keep;
I des don't b'lieve he'd bat his eyes
If Gab'el called him fo'm de skies!
But sleepin's good dey ain't no doubt--
Dis pipe o' mine is done gone out.
Don't bu'n a minute, bless my soul,
Des please to han' me dat ah coal.

You 'Lias git up now, my son,
Seems lak my nap is des begun;
You sutny mus' ma'k down de day
Wen I treats comp'ny dis away!
W'y, Brother Jones, dat drowse come on,
An' laws! I dremp dat you was gone!
You 'Lias, whaih yo' mannahs, suh,
To hyeah me call an' nevah stuh!

To-morrer mo'nin' w'en I call
Dat boy'll be sleepin' to beat all,
Don't mek no diffunce how I roah,
He'll des lay up an' sno' and sno'.
Now boy, you done hyeahed whut I said,
You bettah tek yo'se'f yo baid,
Case ef you gits me good an' wrong
I'll mek dat sno' a diffunt song.

Dis wood fiah is invitin' dho',
Hit seems to wa'm de ve'y flo'--
An' nuffin' ain't a whit ez sweet,
Ez settin' toastin' of yo' feet.
Hit mek you drowsy, too, but La!
Hyeah, 'Lias, don't you hyeah yo' ma?
Ef I gits sta'ted f'om dis cheah
I' lay, you scamp, I'll mek you heah!

To-morrer mo'nin' I kin bawl
Twell all de neighbohs hyeah me call;
An' you'll be snoozin' des ez deep
Ez if de day was made fu' sleep;
Hit's funny when you got a cough
Somehow yo' voice seems too fu' off--
Can't wake dat boy fu' all I say,
I reckon he'll sleep daih twell day!

Submitted: Friday, April 02, 2010

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