Paul Laurence Dunbar

(1872-1906 / Ohio / United States)

We Wear The Mask - Poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar

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!

Form: Rondeau

Comments about We Wear The Mask by Paul Laurence Dunbar

  • Arun Maji (12/10/2018 6:47:00 AM)

    beautiful poem- deep and succinct. philosophical (Report) Reply

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  • (9/20/2018 1:34:00 PM)

    This weak as (Report) Reply

  • (9/18/2018 9:02:00 AM)

    this is a real poem telling the true self (Report) Reply

  • (7/31/2018 10:28:00 AM)

    It is so true n you have put it so beautifully (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (6/21/2018 6:27:00 PM)

    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 wear it for much the same reason. This poem is so worth pondering on a midnight dreary (Report) Reply

  • Britte Ninad (6/3/2018 1:46:00 AM)

    withing mask we show our good deeds but the devilish sign long live as like slough even after death which suffers the next generations! ! (Report) Reply

  • (5/29/2018 10:11:00 AM)

    The poem is about the manner in which African Americans have been forced to endure and escape the treatment dealt to them by whites every day for centuries. The written words are sublime: the reading, not so much. (Report) Reply

  • (5/8/2018 3:26:00 PM)

    I hate Marrisa a lot she has no friends (Report) Reply

  • (4/29/2018 2:39:00 PM)

    BIG MOOD (Report) Reply

  • (4/24/2018 9:24:00 PM)

    Truths revealed, spoken from the heart of a tortured soul (Report) Reply

  • (4/22/2018 10:10:00 PM)

    Very interested poem by sarodiya I love it (Report) Reply

  • (4/22/2018 10:09:00 PM)

    Very interested poem by sarodiya I love it (Report) Reply

  • (2/27/2018 8:28:00 PM)

    I hate this poem cuz I hate it (Report) Reply

  • Ludolf Dauphin (2/16/2018 9:15:00 PM)

    One of the first poem of Mr. Dunbar that i have read and complete love it. The cruelty they have gone through. (Report) Reply

  • (2/12/2018 8:28:00 AM)

    My class and I am applying this poem to Lord of the Flies and it works well on touching down on the sensitive topic of insanity which isn't so easily applied to most stories. All and all quite interesting. (Report) Reply

  • Kamiel Choi (10/4/2017 2:09:00 AM)

    The poem suffers from force rhyme and doesn't really has the grandure expected from such an acclaimed poet. On masks, Pessoa's work is vastly better! (Report) Reply

  • Dallas Mathis (9/6/2017 4:16:00 PM)

    Although we can read this as a reference to all of us, I think it is about the plight of African-Americans in America. (Report) Reply

  • Tapan M. Saren (4/25/2017 1:21:00 AM)

    Excellent poem. Love it. (Report) Reply

  • Sandeep Dongre (2/24/2017 10:23:00 PM)

    What a poem it is! It carries the truth of human existence. (Report) Reply

  • Rebecca Lyle (2/18/2017 8:38:00 PM)

    We Wear the Mask
    amazing write, love your work (Report) Reply

Read all 94 comments »

# 57 poem on top 500 Poems

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Read poems about / on: smile, dream, world

Poem Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003

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