We Wear the Mask (Powerful Life Poetry)

Read by Shane Morris
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P. L. Dunbar was one of the first African Americans to garner international praise for his body of writing. Before his rise to fame, he wrote many of his short stories and poem’s while working as an elevator operator in Dayton, Ohio to make ends meet.
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Full Poem:

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 over-wise,
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!

Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872 – 1906)

#poem #paullaurencedunbar #themask #mayaangelou

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