Come when the nights are bright with stars
Or when the moon is mellow;
Come when the sun his golden bars
Drops on the hay-field yellow.
Come in the twilight soft and gray,
Come in the night or come in the day,
Come, O love, whene’er you may,
And you are welcome, welcome.
You are sweet, O Love, dear Love,
You are soft as the nesting dove.
Come to my heart and bring it rest
As the bird flies home to its welcome nest.
Come when my heart is full of grief
Or when my heart is merry;
Come with the falling of the leaf
Or with the redd’ning cherry.
Come when the year’s first blossom blows,
Come when the summer gleams and glows,
Come with the winter’s drifting snows,
And you are welcome, welcome.
~Paul Laurence Dunbar
If you can disentangle
yourself from your selfish self
all heavenly spirits
will stand ready to serve you
if you can finally hunt down
your own beastly self
you have the right
to claim Solomon’s kingdom
you are that blessed soul who
belongs to the garden of paradise
is it fair to let yourself
fall apart in a shattered house
you are the bird of happiness
in the magic of existence
what a pity when you let
yourself be chained and caged
but if you can break free
from this dark prison named body
soon you will see
you are the sage and the fountain of life
Wisdom and War
We do not care-
that much is clear.
of us care
We are not wise-
for that reason,
is much against
One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice,
though the whole house began to tremble
and you felt the old tug at your ankles.
“Mend my life!” each voice cried. But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do, though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers at the very foundations,
though their melancholy was terrible.
It was already late enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen branches and stones.
But little by little, as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly recognized as your own,
that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world, determined to do the only thing you could do,
determined to save the only life you could save.
Still I Rise
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.