The Poet and His Song

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The Poet and His Song  (1885) 
by Paul Laurence Dunbar
A poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar first published in Lyrics of Lowly Life in 1895 by The Century Company.

A SONG is but a little thing,
And yet what joy it is to sing!
In hours of toil it gives me zest,
And when at eve I long for rest;
When cows come home along the bars,
          And in the fold I hear the bell,
As Night, the shepherd, herds his stars,
          I sing my song, and all is well.

There are no ears to hear my lays,
No lips to lift a word of praise;
But still, with faith unfaltering,
I live and laugh and love and sing.
What matters yon unheeding throng?
          They cannot feel my spirit's spell,
Since life is sweet and love is long,
           I sing my song, and all is well.

My days are never days of ease;
I till my ground and prune my trees.
When ripened gold is all the plain,
I put my sickle to the grain.
I labor hard, and toil and sweat,
          While others dream within the dell;
But even while my brow is wet,
          I sing my song, and all is well.

Sometimes the sun, unkindly hot,
My garden makes a desert spot;
Sometimes a blight upon the tree
Takes all my fruit away from me;
And then with throes of bitter pain
          Rebellious passions rise and swell;
But -- life is more than fruit or grain,
          And so I sing, and all is well.

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