We Wear The Mask

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 overwise,
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!

by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Other poems of DUNBAR (423)

Comments (93)

beautiful poem- deep and succinct. philosophical
This weak as
this is a real poem telling the true self
It is so true n you have put it so beautifully
A great poem on many levels- the rhyme, the rhythm, the words used, the mounting tension, the emotion, the mask and how steeped with history it is- human beings have worn it since Adam and Eve all the way to our age and we wear it for much the same reason. This poem is so worth pondering on a midnight dreary
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