Paul Laurence Dunbar

(1872-1906 / Ohio / United States)

We Wear The Mask - Poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar

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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

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


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

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  • Robert Murray Smith (2/19/2017 8:33:00 PM)


    An interesting poem. Enjoyable.++10 (Report) Reply

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

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

  • Tom Allport (1/4/2017 5:52:00 AM)

    tom allport
    false faces everywhere, disgruntled and in despair? yes we know life ain't fair. (Report) Reply

  • R Soos (11/22/2016 8:26:00 AM)

    100+ years and nothing's changed
    With torn and bleeding hearts we smile (Report) Reply

  • Oluwatobi Moses (8/2/2016 2:14:00 AM)


    Clay beneath our feet, despite, long is the mile. (Report) Reply

  • (5/7/2016 11:44:00 PM)


    great writings, i like it.......the mask. (Report) Reply

  • (4/14/2016 11:04:00 AM)


    What is the theme of this poem? (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (4/9/2016 7:00:00 PM)


    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 (Report) Reply

  • Woru Sulyman (4/9/2016 5:15:00 PM)


    wonderful poem...can't help but to recall times I wore the mask...thanks for sharing (Report) Reply

  • David Semenske (4/9/2016 4:25:00 PM)


    great write! ! ! ! Nice and even flow with a lot of emotion. (Report) Reply

  • David Lumpkin (4/9/2016 2:00:00 PM)


    The mask protects us, but it also protects those around us. Let us wear it and not bring despair into the lives of others. (Report) Reply

  • Subhas Chandra Chakra (4/9/2016 12:55:00 PM)


    Nice poem on the use of the mask while being and leading the social life. Thanks for the beautiful poem.. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (4/9/2016 12:33:00 PM)


    Masks of life! With our ways on earth. Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • Mohammed Asim Nehal (4/9/2016 11:04:00 AM)


    Pungent poetry, nicely written
    Why should the world be overwise,
    In counting all our tears and sighs?
    Nay, let them only see us, while
    We wear the mask.
    (Report) Reply

  • Loveday Destiny (4/9/2016 8:43:00 AM)


    Such a beautiful truth. I love it. (Report) Reply

  • (4/9/2016 5:48:00 AM)


    We wear the mask that grins and lies
    It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes:
    This debt we pay to human guile,
    Is this cajoling a part of life?
    (Report) Reply

  • (4/9/2016 3:23:00 AM)


    Very informative and meaningful life truth visioned in the poem. (Report) Reply

  • Anne Yun (4/9/2016 2:44:00 AM)


    Mask-wearing human souls, jumbled in the clay for hiding sores! (Report) Reply

  • Moira Cameron (4/9/2016 1:06:00 AM)


    Beautiful and powerful. I love poems that force one to examine history, attitudes, and society. What is sad is that in some ways, that mask is still being worn... (Report) Reply

    Kim Barney Kim Barney (4/9/2016 1:17:00 AM)

    Moira, you said it very well.

Read all 77 comments »

# 44 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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