We Wear The Mask Poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar

We Wear The Mask

Rating: 4.4


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 overwise,
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!

We Wear The Mask
COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Susan Williams 09 April 2016

I think this is a great poem on many levels- the rhyme, the rhythm, the words used, the mounting tension, the emotion, the mask and how steeped with history it is- human beings have worn it since Adam and Eve all the way to our age and we do wear it for much the same reason. This poem is so worth pondering on a midnight dreary

26 10 Reply

I agree. That's an amazing analysis, Susan!

0 0 Reply
Phoenix Green 27 September 2013

This has always been my favorite poem. It's about hiding your unhappiness, pain and sorrow, and acting as if everything were normal, happy, wonderful. Pretending to be one way when your really the other. A facade. I think it's truly beautiful.

29 6 Reply
Elena Sandu 08 May 2012

Sigh... Soul wearing a smiling mask to keep the world survive on dreams! Oh dear poet, we are only a bit over a century late, if you could watch how the whole world came to be a masked slave...

28 4 Reply
Rouren Torres 03 January 2014

Yes. Why let the world see me broken and down, when I could just fake a smile?

27 4 Reply
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0 0 Reply
Sylvia Frances Chan 31 July 2022

FIVE: And these lines from his poem too: Why should the world be overwise, In counting all our tears and sighs? Nay, let them only see us, while We wear the mask. What a GENIUS! !

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Sylvia Frances Chan 31 July 2022

FOUR: I cite 4 lines from his poem: 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;

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Sylvia Frances Chan 31 July 2022

THREE: This magnificent poem is worth reading more than once, so touching to read nd what he really meant?

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Sylvia Frances Chan 31 July 2022

To the family of the Great Poet (his close-family who still reside in the USA) Congratulations on being chosen as THE CLASSIC POEM OF THE DAY More than once, many many times!

0 0 Reply
Paul Laurence Dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar

Ohio / United States
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