Poetry of Black Folk

Dunbar wrote much of his poetry in the vernacular of African Americans in the early 20th century. The lyrical musings of the average working-class people of the time give us insight into their lives and their souls. . . the souls of Black folks.

Here’s one of my favorite poems by Dunbar. It needs no explanation:

A NEGRO LOVE SONG

by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Seen my lady home las’ night,

Jump back, honey, jump back.

Hel’ huh han’ an’ sque’z it tight,

Jump back, honey, jump back.

Hyeahd huh sigh a little sigh,

Seen a light gleam f’om huh eye,

An’ a smile go flittin’ by –

Jump back, honey, jump back.

Hyeahd de win’ blow thoo de pine,

Jump back, honey, jump back.

Mockin’-bird was singin’ fine,

Jump back, honey, jump back.

An’ my hea’t was beatin’ so,

When I reached my lady’s do’,

Dat I could n’t ba’ to go –

Jump back, honey, jump back.

Put my ahm aroun’ huh wais’,

Jump back, honey, jump back.

Raised huh lips an’ took a tase,

Jump back, honey, jump back.

Love me, honey, love me true?

Love me well ez I love you?

An’ she answe’d, “‘Cose I do”—

Jump back, honey, jump back.

About The dutty is "the ground," the foundation, the earth--just like words are part of the foundation on which I build my life.

Reason for being: To tell stories and help writers and others with a message to put their best word forward.
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