Back to the breast of thy mother,
Child of the earth!
E'en her caress can not smother
What thou hast done.
Follow the trail of the westering sun
Over the earth.
Thy light and his were as one--
Sun, in thy worth.
Unto a nation whose sky was as night,
Camest thou, holily, bearing thy light:
And the dawn came,
In it thy fame
Flashed up in a flame.

Back to the breast of thy mother--
To rest.
Long hast thou striven;
Dared where the hills by the lightning of heaven were riven;
Go now, pure shriven.
Who shall come after thee, out of the clay--
Learned one and leader to show us the way?
Who shall rise up when the world gives the test?
Think thou no more of this--
Rest!


About Paul Laurence Dunbar


Dunbar was born in Dayton, Ohio to parents who had escaped from slavery; his father was a veteran of the American Civil War, having served in the 55th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment and the 5th Massachusetts Colored Cavalry Regiment. His parents instilled in him a love of learning and history. He was a student at an all-white high school, Dayton Central High School, and he participated actively as a student. During high school, he was both the editor of the school newspaper and class president, as well as the president of the school literary society. Dunbar had also started the first... Read more...

Poet of the day

Son of Thomas Godfrey (1704–1749), a Philadelphia glazier and member of Benjamin Franklin’s Junto Club, Godfrey produced some significant work in his short life.
Well known in literary circles in Philadelphia, he was a close friend of the poet Nathaniel Evans and the college provost William Smith. In 1758...
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Poem of the day


First winter rain--
even the monkey
seems to want a raincoat.

Translated by Robert Hass


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