Paul Laurence Dunbar

(1872-1906 / Ohio / United States)

A Christmas Folksong


DE win' is blowin' wahmah,
An hit's blowin' f'om de bay;
Dey's a so't o' mist a-risin'
All erlong de meddah way;
Dey ain't a hint o' frostin'
On de groun' ner in de sky,
An' dey ain't no use in hopin'
Dat de snow'll 'mence to fly.
It's goin' to be a green Christmas,
An' sad de day fu' me.
I wish dis was de las' one
Dat evah I should see.
Dey's dancin' in de cabin,
Dey's spahkin' by de tree;
But dancin' times an' spahkin'
Are all done pas' fur me.
Dey's feastin' in de big house,
Wid all de windahs wide —
Is dat de way fu' people
To meet de Christmas-tide?
It's goin' to be a green Christmas,
No mattah what you say.
Dey's us dat will remembah
An' grieve de comin' day.
Dey's des a bref o' dampness
A-clingin' to my cheek;
De aih's been dahk an' heavy
An' threatenin' fu' a week,
But not wid signs o' wintah,
Dough wintah'd seem so deah —
De wintah's out o' season,
An' Christmas eve is heah.
It's goin' to be a green Christmas,
An' oh, how sad de day!
Go ax de hongry chu'chya'd,
An' see what hit will say.
Dey's Allen on de hillside,
An' Marfy in de plain;
Fu' Christmas was like springtime,
An' come wid sun an' rain.
Dey's Ca'line, John, an' Susie,
Wid only dis one lef':
An' now de curse is comin'
Wid murder in hits bref.
It's goin' to be a green Christmas —
Des hyeah my words an' see:
Befo' de summah beckons
Dey's many'll weep wid me.

Submitted: Friday, April 02, 2010

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  • Veteran Poet - 4,537 Points Susan Williams (1/1/2015 4:40:00 PM)

    I need to read up on Paul Laurence Dunbar. Yet without knowing his history, this reaches out with its dialect and its sorrow to touch the reader's heart. I suspect that I will be thinking upon this one for some time to come. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 11 Points Thomas Vaughan Jones (4/16/2014 2:07:00 PM)

    Perhaps Paul was brooding on his forthcoming death in this poem. It's a bit sad that one of the leaders of black emancipation should fall back into patois. What a brilliant poem this would have been if he had stayed within his education. Then again, perhaps his choice of rendering makes it more heart rending; s powerful. (Report) Reply

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