National Poetry Month: Dunbar

As the month winds down and with the abundance of poetry out there I’m finding it difficult to choose which one to post.

Tonight is “We Wear The Mask” by Paul Dunbar. I insanely relate to the poem. I have always kept people at a distance. It’s​ a defense mechanism. If I don’t let people near I protect myself. I’ve had to compartmentalize so there are many Bradley archetypes I cycle through. There are only a few people that have been around to see me collapse and they’ve been witness to the truest, most authentic Bradley. Usually people get the Bradley that plays the role of fill in the blank. I wear many masks, so many that I sometimes look in the mirror and can’t find myself underneath the mask.

“We Wear The Mask” — Paul Dunbar
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 over-wise,
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!


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