We Wear the Mask
Today’s Lenten poem from Education for Justice is by Paul Laurence 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.
Source: “We Wear the Mask” from The Complete Poems of Paul Laurence
Dunbar. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1913.