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Paul Laurence Dunbar

The Poet and His Song

A song is but a little thing,

And yet what joy it is to sing!

In hours of toil it gives me zest,

And when at eve I long for rest;

When cows come home along the bars,

And in the fold I hear the bell,

As Night, the shepherd, herds his stars,

I sing my song, and all is well.

There are no ears to hear my lays,

No lips to lift a word of praise;

But still, with faith unfaltering,

I live and laugh and love and sing.

What matters yon unheeding throng?

They cannot feel my spirit's spell,

Since life is sweet and love is long,

I sing my song, and all is well.

My days are never days of ease;

I till my ground and prune my trees.

When ripened gold is all the plain,

I put my sickle to the grain.

I labor hard, and toil and sweat,

While others dream within the dell;

But even while my brow is wet,

I sing my song, and all is well.

Sometimes the sun, unkindly hot,

My garden makes a desert spot;

Sometimes a blight upon the tree

Takes all my fruit away from me;

And then with throes of bitter pain

Rebellious passions rise and swell;

But—life is more than fruit or grain,

And so I sing, and all is well.