Limitations

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Limitations
by Paul Laurence Dunbar
In the 1913 collection of his work, The Complete Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar.


               LIMITATIONS

Ef you's only got de powah fe' to blow a little whistle,
  Keep ermong de people wid de whistles.
Ef you don't, you'll fin' out sho'tly dat you's th'owed yo' fines' feelin'
  In a place dat's all a bed o' thistles.
'Tain't no use a-goin' now, ez sho's you bo'n,
A-squeakin' of yo' whistle 'g'inst a gread big ho'n.

Ef you ain't got but a teenchy bit o' victuals on de table,
  Whut' de use a-claimin' hit's a feas'?
Fe' de folks is mighty 'spicious, an' dey's ap' to come apeerin',
  Lookin' fe' de scraps you lef' at leas'.
Wen de meal's a-hidin' f'om de meal-bin's top,
You needn't talk to hide it; ef you sta'ts, des stop.

Ef yo' min' kin only carry half a pint o' common idees,
  Don' go roun' a-sayin' hit's a bar'l;
'Ca'se de people gwine to test you, an' dey'll fin' out you's a-lyin',
  Den dey'll twis' yo' sayin's in a snarl.
Wuss t'ing in de country dat I evah hyahed—
A crow dot sat a-squawkin', "I's a mockin'-bird."

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