Smiles With Piles

In my prayers last night
I asked tomorrow to be full of smiles
I was hoping that when I got up
I’d experience disappearing piles
The morning came, the paper came
The toilet visit was just the same
Oh well I thought, never mind
Tonights prayers may be kind

Eating my breakfast was a chore
Getting ready was a bore
My childrens conversations always ended in
“WHAT FOR! ”
Just as I thought my day, was to be mundane again
The pain between by buttocks evolved
And then it rained

Then as I left, something happened
And changed the day for me
The postman, usually grim looking
Smiled and patted me
Well that was nice, then wondered
He’s got a tax bill for me,
It’s the only time the postman smiles so happily

I went on and stopped, at the butchers shop
As I looked through the window, I saw a smiling lamb chop
This is absolutely ridiculous, I heard myself say
Before returning the smile, and then went on my way

Random people smiled at me, I wanted to avoid
This was getting too much for me I’m getting paranoid
I think I’m having a breakdown, I need a friend where’s Freud?
Someone build me a wooden horse, I want to be Troyed

Silence…peace
Then beeps brought me awake
I was lying in hospital, offered tea and cake
“The operation was successful, you haven’t any piles”
So my prayers did get answered,
The day then was full of smiles

by Mark Hope

Comments (4)

I also remember my mother reciting this poem with such expression and using the broken language correctly. My mother was from Acamac County Virginia and her school encouraged students to memorize and recite for (at that time) , Negro History Week Programs. She also could recite the with 'Jump, Back Honey, Jump Back.
I also remember my mother reciting this poem with such expression and using the broken language correctly. My mother was from Acamac County Virginia and her school encouraged students to memorize and recite for (at that time) , Negro History Week Programs. She also could recite the with 'Jump, Back Honey, Jump Back.
I used to know this poem by memory. This is, of course, one of Dunbar's dialect poems. If one were to go very deeply in analizing this poem, they would come up with a countless amount of interpretations. It shows the natural talent bestowed upon certain people, regardless of class, gennder, age, or race. The Miss Lucy character, most likely one placed in a higher status due to her race does not have the natural ability to sing as Malindy does. Though, she attempts to sing well by using a music book, the narrator tells her to put it away and 'what's the use to keep on trying if you practice till you're gray? ' Malindy is blessed with a beautiful voice that comes easily to her without training. It seems to come straight from nature and nature itself pauses because her music is almost celestial (not the line of the mockingbird that stops singing) . This is quite a lyrical poem and one imagines what such a voice sounds like through Dunbar's words. You almost beg the poem to have some sort of an audio. A very majestic piece.
My mother used to recite this poem at various social functions when I was a child. It brings back beautiful memories.