Paul Laurence Dunbar

(1872-1906 / Ohio / United States)

Dirge


PLACE this bunch of mignonette
In her cold, dead hand;
When the golden sun is set,
Where the poplars stand,
Bury her from sun and day,
Lay my little love away
From my sight.
She was like a modest flower
Blown in sunny June,
Warm as sun at noon's high hour,
Chaster than the moon.
Ah, her day was brief and bright,
Earth has lost a star of light;
She is dead.
Softly breathe her name to me,—
Ah, I loved her so.
Gentle let your tribute be;
None may better know
Her true worth than I who weep
O'er her as she lies asleep —
Soft asleep.
Lay these lilies on her breast,
They are not more white
Than the soul of her, at rest
'Neath their petals bright.
Chant your aves soft and low,
Solemn be your tread and slow, —
She is dead.
Lay her here beneath the grass,
Cool and green and sweet,
Where the gentle brook may pass
Crooning at her feet.
Nature's bards shall come and sing,
And the fairest flowers shall spring
Where she lies.
Safe above the water's swirl,
She has crossed the bar;
Earth has lost a precious pearl,
Heaven has gained a star,
That shall ever sing and shine,
Till it quells this grief of mine
For my love.

Submitted: Friday, April 02, 2010

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