Encouragement by Paul Laurence Dunbar

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
W'en 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 nobody '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, whaih'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!

by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Other poems by 'Paul Laurence Dunbar'

We Wear the Mask

Sympathy

Life's Tragedy

A Choice

A Negro Love Song

A Golden Day

Little Brown Baby

Confirmation

Morning

Ships that Pass in the Night

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