A Christmas Folksong

DE win' is blowin' wahmah,
An hit's blowin' f'om de bay;
Dey's a so't o' mist a-risin'
All erlong de meddah way;
Dey ain't a hint o' frostin'
On de groun' ner in de sky,
An' dey ain't no use in hopin'
Dat de snow'll 'mence to fly.
It's goin' to be a green Christmas,
An' sad de day fu' me.
I wish dis was de las' one
Dat evah I should see.
Dey's dancin' in de cabin,
Dey's spahkin' by de tree;
But dancin' times an' spahkin'
Are all done pas' fur me.
Dey's feastin' in de big house,
Wid all de windahs wide —
Is dat de way fu' people
To meet de Christmas-tide?
It's goin' to be a green Christmas,
No mattah what you say.
Dey's us dat will remembah
An' grieve de comin' day.
Dey's des a bref o' dampness
A-clingin' to my cheek;
De aih's been dahk an' heavy
An' threatenin' fu' a week,
But not wid signs o' wintah,
Dough wintah'd seem so deah —
De wintah's out o' season,
An' Christmas eve is heah.
It's goin' to be a green Christmas,
An' oh, how sad de day!
Go ax de hongry chu'chya'd,
An' see what hit will say.
Dey's Allen on de hillside,
An' Marfy in de plain;
Fu' Christmas was like springtime,
An' come wid sun an' rain.
Dey's Ca'line, John, an' Susie,
Wid only dis one lef':
An' now de curse is comin'
Wid murder in hits bref.
It's goin' to be a green Christmas —
Des hyeah my words an' see:
Befo' de summah beckons
Dey's many'll weep wid me.

by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Comments (4)

We own the language of cultural slang when we claim it, as Paul Laurence Dunbar claims the strength of cultural slang in his poem 'A Christmas Folksong', a powerful haunting mourning poem, which requires several readings and research into the background stimulus for the poems writing. Hauntingly wonderful.
Nice poem. I love the christmas poem.
I need to read up on Paul Laurence Dunbar. Yet without knowing his history, this reaches out with its dialect and its sorrow to touch the reader's heart. I suspect that I will be thinking upon this one for some time to come.
Perhaps Paul was brooding on his forthcoming death in this poem. It's a bit sad that one of the leaders of black emancipation should fall back into patois. What a brilliant poem this would have been if he had stayed within his education. Then again, perhaps his choice of rendering makes it more heart rending; s powerful.