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Humour and Dialect

by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Possum

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: 292

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Ef dey ’s anyt’ing dat riles me
An’ jes’ gits me out o’ hitch,
Twell I want to tek my coat off,
So ’s to r’ar an’ t’ar an’ pitch,
Hit’s to see some ign’ant white man
‘Mittin’ dat owdacious sin—
Wen he want to cook a possum
Tekin’ off de possum’s skin.

W’y dey ain’t no use in talkin’,
Hit jes’ hu’ts me to de hea’t
Fu’ to see dem foolish people
Th’owin’ ‘way de fines’ pa’t.
W’y, dat skin is jes’ ez tendah
An’ ez juicy ez kin be;
I knows all erbout de critter—
Hide an’ haih—don’t talk to me!

Possum skin is jes lak shoat skin;
Jes’ you swinge an’ scrope it down,
Tek a good sha’p knife an’ sco’ it,
Den you bake it good an’ brown.
Huh–uh! honey, you ’s so happy
Dat yo’ thoughts is ‘mos’ a sin
When you ’s settin’ dah a–chawin’
On dat possum’s cracklin’ skin.

White folks t’ink dey know ‘bout eatin’,
An’ I reckon dat dey do
Sometimes git a little idee
Of a middlin’ dish er two;
But dey ain’t a t’ing dey knows of
Dat I reckon cain’t be beat
Wen we set down at de table
To a unskun possum’s meat!