Paul Laurence Dunbar

(1872-1906 / Ohio / United States)

We Wear The Mask - Poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar

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

  • Silver Star - 3,200 Points Godfrey Morris (5/27/2015 9:40:00 PM)

    Awesome write. We do wear a mask. Paul is one of my favourite poet (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Rookie Cephas Makayi (5/18/2015 4:39:00 PM)

    Perfect depiction of human character! Swimming in the sea of troubles, we put that smile and wink on our faces, hiding any trace of frustration. (Report) Reply

  • Silver Star - 3,852 Points John Richter (2/6/2015 11:36:00 AM)

    Such grit and truth behind these words... How insightful Mr Dunbar was. (Report) Reply

  • Silver Star - 3,022 Points Elizabeth Padillo Olesen (12/19/2014 3:44:00 AM)

    So beautifully written! Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 30,424 Points Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (6/26/2014 10:01:00 AM)

    In fact it is a narration of human predicament and all wear masks in such interests and convenience but the world doesn't see it. I loved the poem very much. (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 764 Points Birgitta Abimbola Heikka (5/27/2014 10:07:00 PM)

    Lots of poems about masks; this is by far the best I’ve read. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 164 Points Kasey Jessie (5/8/2014 10:10:00 PM)

    wow. that was great. (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 1,054 Points Michelle Claus (5/8/2014 9:23:00 PM)

    As Mr. Dunbar says, we each put forth a public face.... When we take a few moments to converse with a person, or if another takes a few moments to converse with us, the heart is revealed. The moment's anxieties, persistent heartaches, and joys become the countenance. All it takes is a few moments of sincere listening, and the mask is set aside. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 9 Points Jessica Hernandez-damian (5/8/2014 9:35:00 AM)

    Beautiful poem.! I love it! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Alufa Joshua (5/8/2014 6:13:00 AM)

    we still wear the mask..... good of art. beautiful poem (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Robin Harrison (5/8/2014 1:28:00 AM)

    because its not harder to pretent Rouren (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 1,990 Points Babatunde Aremu (5/8/2014 1:21:00 AM)

    Yes, the world is masked with deception. Very thought provoking, Great poem (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 65 Points Rouren Torres (1/3/2014 10:09:00 PM)

    Yes. Why let the world see me broken and down, when I could just fake a smile? (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Phoenix Green (9/27/2013 7:53:00 PM)

    This has always been my favorite poem. It's about hiding your unhappiness, pain and sorrow, and acting as if everything were normal, happy, wonderful. Pretending to be one way when your really the other. A facade. I think it's truly beautiful. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Russ Newsom (7/7/2013 8:42:00 AM)

    Way ahead of his time. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 55 Points Ernest Makuakua (5/9/2013 2:17:00 AM)

    nice piece youve written there love it more (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 1,262 Points Shahzia Batool (5/8/2013 8:56:00 PM)

    A bold confession....yes, we wear a mask... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 208 Points R.j. Wynn (5/8/2013 2:57:00 PM)

    Very revealing for a mask thing but adequate to explain the mindset. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Tinara Cook (5/8/2013 11:59:00 AM)

    I made a poem just like this (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Thomas Yarborough (5/8/2013 10:47:00 AM)

    Reminds me of Charles Bukowski's Dinosauris, We but not quite as cynical as his ;) Rated it 10. Good job. (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: smile, dream, world



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003



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