Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Paul Lawrence Dunbar

Living near Dayton, I would be remiss not to mention Paul Lawrence Dunbar as a poet beginning with the letter "D."  Dunbar, I learned, was the son of two ex-slaves, a classmate of Orville Wright, and a friend of Frederick Douglass.  He did receive attention for his writing while he was alive--though he died at the young age of thirty-three.

The Debt

By Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)
This is the debt I pay
Just for one riotous day,
Years of regret and grief,
Sorrow without relief.

Pay it I will to the end —
Until the grave, my friend,
Gives me a true release —
Gives me the clasp of peace.

Slight was the thing I bought,
Small was the debt I thought,
Poor was the loan at best —
God! but the interest!
The University of Dayton sponsors a website for futher study of Dunbar:  Paul Lawrence Dunbar .

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