Paul Laurence Dunbar

Poetry Index

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 tho'wed 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 a-peerin',
Lookin' fe' de scraps you lef' at leas'.
W'en 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 poem appears in the following book(s):

Lyrics Of Sunshine and Shadow

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