Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow

by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Puttin' the Baby Away

Additional Information
  • Year Published: 1913
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States of America
  • Source: Dunbar, P.L. (1913). The Complete Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar. New York: Dodd, Mead, and Company.
  • Readability:
    • Flesch–Kincaid Level: 6.5
  • Word Count: 384
  • Genre: Poetry
  • Keywords: baby, death, pain, sadness
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Eight of ‘em hyeah all tol’ an’ yet
Dese eyes o’ mine is wringin’ wet;
My haht’s a–achin’ ha’d an’ so’,
De way hit nevah ached befo’;
My soul’s a–pleadin’, “Lawd, give back
Dis little lonesome baby black,
Dis one, dis las’ po’ he’pless one
Whose little race was too soon run.”

Po’ Little Jim, des fo’ yeahs ol’
A–layin’ down so still an’ col’.
Somehow hit don’ seem ha’dly faih,
To have my baby lyin’ daih
Wi’dout a smile upon his face,
Wi’dout a look erbout de place;
He ust to be so full o’ fun
Hit don’ seem right dat all’s done, done.

Des eight in all but I don’ caih,
Dey wa’nt a single one to spaih;
De worl’ was big, so was my haht,
An’ dis hyeah baby owned hit’s paht;
De house was po’, dey clothes was rough,
But daih was meat an’ meal enough;
An’ daih was room fu’ little Jim;
Oh! Lawd, what made you call fu’ him?.

It do seem monst’ous ha’d to–day,
To lay dis baby boy away;
I’d learned to love his teasin’ smile,
He mought o’ des been lef’ erwhile;
You wouldn’t t’ought wid all de folks,
Dat’s roun’ hyeah mixin’ teahs an’ jokes,
De Lawd u’d had de time to see
Dis chile an’ tek him ‘way f’om me.

But let it go, I reckon Jim,
‘Ll des go right straight up to Him
Dat took him f’om his mammy’s nest
An’ lef dis achin’ in my breas’,
An’ lookin’ in dat fathah’s face
An’ ‘memberin’ dis lone sorrerin’ place,
He’ll say, “Good Lawd, you ought to had
Do sumpin’ fu’ to comfo’t dad!”