The Colored Band

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The Colored Band
by Paul Laurence Dunbar
In the 1913 collection of his work, The Complete Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar

                THE COLORED BAND

Wen de colo'ed ban' comes ma'chin' down de street,
Don't you people stan' daih starin'; lif yo' feet!
  Ain't dey playin'? Hip, hooray!
  Stir yo' stumps an' cleah de way,
Fu' de music dat dey mekin' can't be beat.

Oh, de major man's a-swingin' of his stick,
An' de pickaninnies crowdin' roun' him thick;
  In his go'geous uniform,
  He 's de lightnin' of de sto'm,
An' de little clouds erroun' look mighty slick.

You kin hyeah a fine perfo'mance w'en de white ban's serenade,
  An' dey play dey high-toned music mighty sweet,
But hit 's Sousa played in ragtime, an' hit 's Rastus on Parade,
  Wen de colo'ed ban' comes ma'chin' down de street.

Wen de colo'ed ban' comes ma'chin' down de street
You kin hyeah de ladies all erroun' repeat:
  "Ain't dey handsome? Ain't dey gran'?
  Ain't dey splendid? Goodness, lan'!
Wy dey's pu'fect f'om dey fo'heads to dey feet!"
An' sich steppin' to de music down de line,
'T ain't de music by itself dat meks it fine,
  Hit's de walkin', step by step,
  An' de keepin' time wid "Hep,"
Dat it mek a common ditty soun' divine.

Oh, de white ban' play hits music, an' hit 's mighty good to hyeah,
An' it sometimes leaves a ticklin' in yo' feet;
But de hea't goes into bus'ness fu' to he'p erlong de eah,
  Wen de colo'ed ban' goes ma'chin' down de street.

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