We Wear the Mask 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 over-wise,
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!

Paul Laurence Dunbar
1872–1906

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About russellboyle.com

Russell Boyle, of russellboyle.com, is a mathematics teacher, writer, and poet. Russell is the author of a number of teaching resources, including the Year 7 to 8 Mathematics Short-Answer Tasks, the Year 7 to 10 Mathematics Multiple-Choice Tasks, the Year 9 Extended-Response Tasks, the solutions to the Year 12 VCAA Mathematics Exams and the Web-Programming For Beginners series of courses. Russell's poetry anthologies are titled The Beginning, Footprints and Loneliness.
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6 Responses to We Wear the Mask by Paul Laurence Dunbar

  1. Aquileana says:

    “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!”

    ▬▬๑۩۩๑▬▬▬

    Awesome share, Russell.
    Cheers!; Aquileana 🙂

  2. “We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
    To thee from tortured souls arise.”

    Powerful lines!

  3. cindy knoke says:

    All the world’s a stage……

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