Lyrics of Lowly Life

by Paul Laurence Dunbar


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: 479
  • Genre: Poetry
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Mother ’s gone a–visitin’ to spend a month er two,
An’, oh, the house is lonesome ez a nest whose birds has flew
To other trees to build ag’in; the rooms seem jest so bare
That the echoes run like sperrits from the kitchen to the stair.
The shetters flap more lazy–like ‘n what they used to do,
Sence mother ’s gone a–visitin’ to spend a month er two.

We ‘ve killed the fattest chicken an’ we’ve cooked her to a turn;
We ‘ve made the richest gravy, but I jest don’t give a durn
Fur nothin’ ‘at I drink er eat, er nothin’ ‘at I see.
The food ain’t got the pleasant taste it used to have to me.
They ’s somep’n’ stickin’ in my throat ez tight ez hardened glue,
Sence mother’s gone a–visitin’ to spend a month er two.

The hollyhocks air jest ez pink, they ‘re double ones at that,
An’ I wuz prouder of ‘em than a baby of a cat.
But now I don’t go near ‘em, though they nod an’ blush at me,
Fur they ’s somep’n’ seems to gall me in their keerless sort o’ glee
An’ all their fren’ly noddin’ an’ their blushin’ seems to say:
“You ‘re purty lonesome, John, old boy, sence mother ’s gone away.”

The neighbors ain’t so fren’ly ez it seems they ‘d ort to be;
They seem to be a–lookin’ kinder sideways like at me,
A–kinder feared they ‘d tech me off ez ef I wuz a match,
An’ all because ‘at mother ’s gone an’ I ‘m a–keepin’ batch!
I ‘m shore I don’t do nothin’ worse ‘n what I used to do
‘Fore mother went a–visitin’ to spend a month er two.

The sparrers ac’s more fearsome like an’ won’t hop quite so near,
The cricket’s chirp is sadder, an’ the sky ain’t ha’f so clear;
When ev’nin’ comes, I set an’ smoke tell my eyes begin to swim,
An’ things aroun’ commence to look all blurred an’ faint an’ dim.
Well, I guess I ‘ll have to own up ‘at I ‘m feelin’ purty blue
Sence mother’s gone a–visitin’ to spend a month er two.