Encouragement (Dunbar)

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For works with similar titles, see Encouragement.
Encouragement
by Paul Laurence Dunbar
In the 1913 collection of his work, The Complete Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar


     ENCOURAGEMENT

Who dat knockin' at de do'?
Why, Ike Johnson,—yes, fu' sho!
Come in, Ike. I 's mighty glad
You come down. I t'ought you 's mad
At me 'bout de othah night,
An' was stayin' 'way fu' spite.
Say, now, was you mad fu' true
Wen I kin' o' laughed at you?
  Speak up, Ike, an' 'spress yo'se'f.

'T ain't no use a-lookin' sad,
An' a-mekin' out you 's mad;
Ef you 's gwine to be so glum,
Wondah why you evah come.
I don't lak nobidy 'roun'
Dat jes' shet dey mouf an' frown,—
Oh, now, man, don't act a dunce!
Cain't you talk? I tol' you once,
  Speak up, Ike, an' 'spress yo'se'f.

Wha 'd you come hyeah fu' to-night?
Body 'd t'ink yo' haid ain't right.
I 's done all dat I kin do,-
Dressed perticler, jes' fu' you;
Reckon I 'd 'a' bettah wo'
My ol' ragged calico.
Aftah all de pains I 's took,
Cain't you tell me how I look?
  Speak up, Ike, an' 'spress yo'se'f.

Bless my soul! I 'mos' fu'got
Tellin' you 'bout Tildy Scott.
Don't you know, come Thu'sday night,
She gwine ma'y Lucius White?
Miss Lize say I allus wuh
Heap sight laklier 'n huh;
An' she 'll git me somep'n new,
Ef I wants to ma'y too.
  Speak up, Ike, an' 'spress yo'se'f.

I could ma'y in a week,
Ef de man I wants 'ud speak.
Tildy's presents 'll be fine,
But dey would n't ekal mine.
Him whut gits me fu' a wife
'Ll be proud, you bet yo' life.
I 's had offers; some ain't quit;
But I has n't ma'ied yit!
  Speak up, Ike, an' 'spress yo'se'f.

Ike, I loves you,—yes, I does;
You 's my choice, and allus was.
Laffin' at you ain't no harm.—
Go 'way, dahky, whah 's yo' arm?
Hug me closer—dah, dat 's right!
Was n't you a awful sight,
Havin' me to baig you so?
Now ax whut you want to know,—
  Speak up, Ike, an' 'spress yo'se'f!

This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.