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A Warm Day in Winter
by
Paul Laurence Dunbar


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"Sunshine on de medders,
Greenness on de way;
Dat's de blessed reason
I sing all de day."
Look hyeah! Whut you axin'?
Whut meks me so merry?
'Spect to see me sighin'
W'en hit's wa'm in Febawary?

'Long de stake an' rider
Seen a robin set;
W'y hit 'mence a-thawin',
Groun' is monst'ous wet.
Den you stan' dah wond'rin',
Lookin' skeert an' stary;
I's a right to caper
W'en hit's wa'm in Febawary.

Missis gone a-drivin',
Mastah gone to shoot;
Ev'ry da'ky lazin'
In de sun to boot.
Qua'tah 's moughty pleasant,
Hangin' 'roun' my Mary;
Cou'tin' boun' to prospah
W'en hit's wa'm in Febawary.

Cidah look so pu'ty
Po'in' f'om de jug--
Don' you see it's happy?
Hyeah it laffin'--glug?
Now's de time fu' people
Fu' to try an' bury
All dey grief an' sorrer,
W'en hit's wa'm in Febawary.

This poem is in the public domain.

 

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Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906) was from Ohio. He wrote his first poem at the age of six, was editor of his high school newspaper, and published his first book at twenty. His writing attracted attention from the very beginning, and Paul became well-known in both America and around the world. Like James Whitcomb Riley, who was a fan of his young contemporary's work, Paul wrote many of his poems in dialect. Besides a dozen books of poetry, Paul wrote four short story collections, five novels, a play, and the first  Broadway musical ever written and performed by African-Americans. A tremendously successful poet whose work was being published in all the major literary publications of his day, Paul's life was cut tragically short by tuberculosis.


Post New Comment:
Phyllis Beckman:
Paul Lawrence Dunbar's poem "Lullaby" appears in my childhood collection The Poetry Book 2, copyright 1926 by Rand McNally & Company. My mom used it as part of the rural one-room school curriculum in the 1930's and 40's. In the front, in mom's Palmer Method handwriting, she declares, "Folk Rhymes" and I would add, "And Rhythms"...Thanks for including his genius on YDP.
Posted 03/07/2011 04:50 AM
Buckner14:
For a man who died at 33 and who had to overcome the difficulties that lay in the road of any African American during his time, he was remarkably prolific. He wrote poems in both dialect and standard English, and we should accept them for what they try to say to us--and honor him for his efforts.
Posted 03/06/2011 10:39 AM


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