Paul Laurence Dunbar

Poetry Index

At Candle Lightin' Time

When I come in f'om de co'n-fiel' aftah wo'kin' ha'd all day,
It's amazin' nice to fin' my suppah all erpon de way;
An' it's nice to smell de coffee bubblin' ovah in de pot,
An' it's fine to see de meat a-sizzlin' teasin'-lak an' hot.

But when suppah-time is ovah, an' de t'ings is cleahed away;
Den de happy hours dat foller are de sweetes' of de day.
When m co'ncob pipe is sta'ted, an' de smoke is drawin' prime,
My ole 'ooman says, "I reckon, Ike, it's candle-lightin' time."

Den de chillum snuggle up to me, an' all commence to call,
"Oh, say, daddy, now it's time to mek de shadders on de wall."
So I puts my han's togethah--evah daddy knows de way,--
An' de chillum snuggle closer roun' ez I begin to say:--

"Fus' thing, hyeah come Mistah Rabbit; don' you see him wo'k his eahs?
Huh, uh! Dis mus' be a donkey,--look, how innercent he 'pears!
Dah's de ole black swan a-swimmin'--ain't she got a' awful neck?
Who's dis feller dat 's a-comin'? Why, dat's ole dog Tray, I 'spec!"

Dat's de way I run on, tryin' fu' to please 'em all I can;
Den I hollah, "Now be keerful--dis hyeah las' 's de buga-man!"
An' dey runs an' hides dey faces; dey ain't skeered--dey's lettin' on:
But de play ain't raaly ovah twell dat buga-man is gone.

So I jes' teks up my banjo, an' I plays a little chune,
An' you see dem haids come peepin' out to listen mighty soon.
Den my wife says, "Sich a pappy fu' to give you sich a fright!
Jes' you go to baid, an' leave him: say yo' prayers an' say good-night."

This poem appears in the following book(s):

Candle-Lightin' Time, Lyrics of the Hearthside

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