I was very young when I found this poem. I want to say around 2nd or 3rd grade. My parents would look at me sideways when I read it aloud. They didn't expect this to come from their proper little girl. But this poem was comforting in a beautiful way. Those two years I had the best teacher, Ms. Grace White Ware (especially when you consider that she taught two grades simultaneously). She was simply phenomenal. I thank her for sowing a seed that is still growing strong.
And on a terrible, horrible, not so very good day, I truly needed a reason to smile from my inside out. I am so thankful for all of my teachers.
In the Morning
by Paul Laurence Dunbar
‘Lias! ‘Lias! Bless de Lawd!
Don’ you know de day’s erbroad?
Ef you don’ git up, you scamp,
Dey’ll be trouble in dis camp.
T’ink I gwine to let you sleep
W’ile I meks yo’ boa’d an’ keep?
Dat’s a putty howdy-do–
Don’ you hyeah me, ‘Lias–you?
Bet ef I come crost dis flo’
You won’ fin’ no time to sno’.
Daylight all a-shinin’ in
W’ile you sleep–w’y hit’s a sin!
Ain’t de can’le-light enough
To bu’n out widout a snuff,
But you go de mo’nin’ thoo
Bu’nin’ up de daylight too?
‘Lias, don’ you hyeah me call?
No use tu’nin’ to’ds de wall;
I kin hyeah dat mattuss squeak;
Don’ you hyeah me w’en I speak?
Dis hyeah clock done struck off six–
Ca’line, bring me dem ah sticks!
Oh, you down, suh; huh, you down–
Look hyeah, don’ you daih to frown.
Ma’ch you’se’f an’ wash yo’ face,
Don’ you splattah all de place;
I got somep’n else to do,
‘Sides jes’ cleanin’ aftah you.
Tek dat comb an’ fix yo’ haid–
Looks je’ lak a feddah baid.
Look hyeah, boy, I let you see
You sha’n't roll yo’ eyes at me.
Come hyeah; bring me dat ah strap!
Boy, I’ll whup you ‘twell you drap;
You done felt yo’se’f’ too strong,
An’ you sholy got me wrong.
Set down at dat table thaih;
Jes’ you whimpah ef you daih!
Evah mo’nin’ on dis place,
Seem lak I mus’ lose my grace.
Fol’ yo’ han’s an’ bow yo’ haid–
Wait ontwell de blessin’ ‘s said;
“Lawd, have mussy on ouah souls–
(Don’ you daih to tech dem rolls–)
“Bless de food we gwine to eat–”
(You set still–I see yo’ feet;
You jes’ try dat trick agin!)
“Gin us peace an’ joy. Amen!”