In Honor of Black History Month

Dunbar's Mask

Dunbar’s Mask

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.
Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
       We wear the mask.
We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
       We wear the mask!


Sometimes a poem inspires me to illustrate it. This is one of my favorite poems and the painting that it inspired:


by Langston Hughes

What happens tIM000040.JPGo a dream deferred?
Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore-
And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat
Or crust and sugar over - 
Like a syrupy sweet

Maybe it just sags
Like a heavy load. 

Or does it explode?