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Paul Laurence Dunbar
1872-1906


Theme:  Wine Drinkers


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The Gourd
Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906), American poet

In the heavy earth the miner
Toiled and labored day by day,
Wrenching from the miser mountain
Brilliant treasure where it lay.
And the artist worn and weary
Wrought with labor manifold
That the king might drink his nectar
From a goblet made of gold.

On the prince's groaning table
Mid the silver gleaming bright
Mirroring the happy faces
Giving back the flaming light,
Shine the cups of priceless crystal
Chased with many a lovely line,
Glowing now with warmer color,
Crimsoned by the ruby wine.

In a valley sweet with sunlight,
Fertile with the dew and rain,
Without miner's daily labor,
Without artist's nightly pain,
There there grows the cup I drink from,
Summer's sweetness in it stored,
And my lips pronounce a blessing
As they touch an old brown gourd.

Why, the miracle at Cana
In the land of Galilee,
Tho' it puzzles all the scholars,
Is no longer strange to me.
For the poorest and the humblest
Could a priceless wine afford,
If they 'd only dip up water
With a sunlight-seasoned gourd.

So a health to my old comrade,
And a song of praise to sing
When he rests inviting kisses
In his place beside the spring.
Give the king his golden goblets,
Give the prince his crystal hoard;
But for me the sparkling water
From a brown and brimming gourd!



from The Complete Poems Of Paul Laurence Dunbar (1922)


            

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