African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology

Paul Laurence Dunbar, "In the Morning" (1903)


*Permission, Dodd, Mead and Co.
LIAS! 'Lias! Bress de Lawd,
Don' you know de day's erbroad?
Ef you don't get up, you scamp,
Dey'll be trouble in dis camp.
T'ink I's gwine to let you sleep
W'ile I meks yo' boa'd an' keep?
Dat's A purty howdy—do—
Don' you hyeah me, 'Lias, you!
Bet of I come crost dis flo'
You won't fin' no time to sno'.
Daylight all a shinin' in
W'ile's you sleep, w'y hit's a sin!
Ain't de can'le light enuff
To bu'n out widout a snuff,
But you go de mo'nin' thoo
Bu'nin' up de daylight, too?
'Lias, don' you hyeah me call?
No use tu'nin' to'ds de wall;
I kin hyeah dat mattuss squeak!
Don' you hyeah me w'en I speak?
Dis hyeah clock done struck off six!
Ca'line, bring me dem ah sticks!
Oh, you's down, suh, huh! you's down?
Look hyeah, don't you daih to frown.
Ma'ch you'se'f an' wash yo' face,
Don' you splattah all de place;

I got somep'n else to do,
'Sides jes' cleanin' aftah you.
Tek dat corn' an' fix yo' haid—
Looks des' lak a feddah baid.
Look hyeah, boy, I let you see,
You cain't roll yo' eyes at me.
Come hyuh! Bring me dat ah strap!
Boy, Ah'll whup you twell you drap;
An' you sholy got me wrong.
Set down at dat table thaih,
Jes' you whimpah of you daih!
Evah mo'nin' on dis place,
Seems lak I mus' lose my grace.
Fol' yo' han's an' bow yo' haid—
Wait ontwell de blessin's said;
Lawd have mussy on our souls—
Don' you daih to tech dem rolls!—
Bless de food we's gwine to eat—
You set still, I see yo' feet,
Jes' you try dat trick again—
Gin us peace an' joy—AMEN!

Published in "When Malindy Sings" (1903)
Published in "The Dunbar Speaker and Entertainer" (1920)

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