Paul Laurence Dunbar

(1872-1906 / Ohio / United States)

The Secret


WHAT says the wind to the waving trees?
What says the wave to the river?
What means the sigh in the passing breeze?
Why do the rushes quiver?
Have you not heard the fainting cry
Of the flowers that said 'Good-bye, good-bye'?
List how the gray dove moans and grieves
Under the woodland cover;
List to the drift of the falling leaves,
List to the wail of the lover.
Have you not caught the message heard
Already by wave and breeze and bird?
Come, come away to the river's bank,
Come in the early morning;
Come when the grass with dew is dank,
There you will find the warning —
A hint in the kiss of the quickening air
Of the secret that birds and breezes bear.

Submitted: Friday, April 02, 2010

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