The Poetry Corner

At Night

By Paul Laurence Dunbar

Whut time 'd dat clock strike? Nine? No--eight; I didn't think hit was so late. Aer chew! I must 'a' got a cough, I raally b'lieve I did doze off-- Hit's mighty soothin' to de tiah, A-dozin' dis way by de fiah; Oo oom--hit feels so good to stretch I sutny is one weary wretch! Look hyeah, dat boy done gone to sleep! He des ain't wo'th his boa'd an' keep; I des don't b'lieve he'd bat his eyes If Gab'el called him fo'm de skies! But sleepin's good dey ain't no doubt-- Dis pipe o' mine is done gone out. Don't bu'n a minute, bless my soul, Des please to han' me dat ah coal. You 'Lias git up now, my son, Seems lak my nap is des begun; You sutny mus' ma'k down de day Wen I treats comp'ny dis away! W'y, Brother Jones, dat drowse come on, An' laws! I dremp dat you was gone! You 'Lias, whaih yo' mannahs, suh, To hyeah me call an' nevah stuh! To-morrer mo'nin' w'en I call Dat boy'll be sleepin' to beat all, Don't mek no diffunce how I roah, He'll des lay up an' sno' and sno'. Now boy, you done hyeahed whut I said, You bettah tek yo'se'f yo baid, Case ef you gits me good an' wrong I'll mek dat sno' a diffunt song. Dis wood fiah is invitin' dho', Hit seems to wa'm de ve'y flo'-- An' nuffin' ain't a whit ez sweet, Ez settin' toastin' of yo' feet. Hit mek you drowsy, too, but La! Hyeah, 'Lias, don't you hyeah yo' ma? Ef I gits sta'ted f'om dis cheah I' lay, you scamp, I'll mek you heah! To-morrer mo'nin' I kin bawl Twell all de neighbohs hyeah me call; An' you'll be snoozin' des ez deep Ez if de day was made fu' sleep; Hit's funny when you got a cough Somehow yo' voice seems too fu' off-- Can't wake dat boy fu' all I say, I reckon he'll sleep daih twell day!