poet Paul Laurence Dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar

#48 on top 500 poets

We Wear The Mask

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!

Poem Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003

Form: Rondeau


Add this poem to MyPoemList

Rating Card

We Wear The Mask # 55 poem on top 500 Poems
4,4 out of 5
212 total ratings
rate this poem

Comments about We Wear The Mask by Paul Laurence Dunbar

  • Dr Tony BrahminDr Tony Brahmin (2/5/2020 1:47:00 PM)

    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; very fine poem with deep insights and.... tony

    Report Reply
    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • nudrerayde (9/30/2019 2:50:00 PM)

    ­my ­c­l­­m­At­e's st­e­p-­m­ot­h­er ­m­A­k­es $77 ­ev­ery ­h­our ­o­n t­h­e ­i­nt­er­n­et. S­h­e ­h­As ­b­e­e­n u­n­e­m­p­l­oy­e­d ­f­or ­f­iv­e ­m­o­nt­hs ­but ­l­Ast ­m­o­nt­h ­h­er ­i­n­c­o­m­e w­As $21066 just w­or­k­i­n­g ­o­n t­h­e ­i­nt­er­n­et ­f­or ­A ­f­ew ­h­ours. R­e­A­d ­m­or­e ­o­n t­h­is s­it­e ­g­o t­o t­h­is s­it­e ­h­o­m­e t­A­b ­f­or ­m­or­e ­d­et­A­i­l. HERE======►►.more. ★★★★★★

    Report Reply
    0 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • June Powers (8/30/2019 9:16:00 PM)

    This poem shows great wisdom and insight on many levels especially given the time period that it was written. I believe Mr Dunbar's parents were former slaves so it was vital to put on a happy face to survive. Fast forward to now, the words become even more relevant - we all have a mask of one kind or another. It's an amazing poem.

    Report Reply
    Moira(2/21/2020 8:51:00 AM)

    Did you see maya Angelou on YouTube do the mask? She says what you said 🙂

    Moira(2/21/2020 8:50:00 AM)

    Did you see maya Angelou on YouTube do the mask? She says what you said 🙂

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Thelma (4/9/2019 8:04:00 AM)

    This poem became one of my favorite poems early in my adult life and still remains a favorite🌹

    Report Reply
    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • joe rando (3/18/2019 6:50:00 PM)

    this poems may be one of the worst pieces of writing I have ever read

    Report Reply
    yeet skeet(4/11/2019 10:09:00 AM)

    then you dont know the true meaning of it because it is a very well written poem

    4 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • Arun MajiArun Maji (12/10/2018 6:47:00 AM)

    beautiful poem- deep and succinct. philosophical

    Report Reply
    4 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Daddy Sal (9/20/2018 1:34:00 PM)

    This weak as

    Report Reply
    4 person liked.
    5 person did not like.
  • osabiya ayomide (9/18/2018 9:02:00 AM)

    this is a real poem telling the true self

    Report Reply
    5 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Sunita Chandla (7/31/2018 10:28:00 AM)

    It is so true n you have put it so beautifully

    Report Reply
    3 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Susan WilliamsSusan 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
    4 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Britte NinadBritte 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
    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Michael (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
    3 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Brock Simon (5/8/2018 3:26:00 PM)

    I hate Marrisa a lot she has no friends

    Report Reply
    3 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Jaedyn (4/29/2018 2:39:00 PM)

    BIG MOOD

    Report Reply
    3 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Sarah (4/24/2018 9:24:00 PM)

    Truths revealed, spoken from the heart of a tortured soul

    Report Reply
    1 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Sreyasree dey (4/22/2018 10:10:00 PM)

    Very interested poem by sarodiya I love it

    Report Reply
    1 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Sreyasree dey (4/22/2018 10:09:00 PM)

    Very interested poem by sarodiya I love it

    Report Reply
    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Jiho Jeon (2/27/2018 8:28:00 PM)

    I hate this poem cuz I hate it

    Report Reply
    7 person liked.
    11 person did not like.
  • Ludolf DauphinLudolf 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
    5 person liked.
    8 person did not like.
  • Brandon Stephanie (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
    3 person liked.
    9 person did not like.



Read this poem in other languages

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: smile, dream, world