Paul Laurence Dunbar

(1872-1906 / Ohio / United States)

Worn Out


You bid me hold my peace
And dry my fruitless tears,
Forgetting that I bear
A pain beyond my years.

You say that I should smile
And drive the gloom away;
I would, but sun and smiles
Have left my life's dark day.

All time seems cold and void,
And naught but tears remain;
Life's music beats for me
A melancholy strain.

I used at first to hope,
But hope is past and, gone;
And now without a ray
My cheerless life drags on.

Like to an ash-stained hearth
When all its fires are spent;
Like to an autumn wood
By storm winds rudely shent,--

So sadly goes my heart,
Unclothed of hope and peace;
It asks not joy again,
But only seeks release.

Submitted: Friday, April 02, 2010

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