The Poetry Corner

Just Whistle A Bit

By Paul Laurence Dunbar

Just whistle a bit, if the day be dark, And the sky be overcast: If mute be the voice of the piping lark, Why, pipe your own small blast. And it's wonderful how o'er the gray sky-track The truant warbler comes stealing back. But why need he come? for your soul's at rest, And the song in the heart,--ah, that is best. Just whistle a bit, if the night be drear And the stars refuse to shine: And a gleam that mocks the starlight clear Within you glows benign. Till the dearth of light in the glooming skies Is lost to the sight of your soul-lit eyes. What matters the absence of moon or star? The light within is the best by far. Just whistle a bit, if there 's work to do, With the mind or in the soil. And your note will turn out a talisman true To exorcise grim Toil. It will lighten your burden and make you feel That there 's nothing like work as a sauce for a meal. And with song in your heart and the meal in--its place, There 'll be joy in your bosom and light in your face. Just whistle a bit, if your heart be sore; 'Tis a wonderful balm for pain. Just pipe some old melody o'er and o'er Till it soothes like summer rain. And perhaps 't would be best in a later day, When Death comes stalking down the way, To knock at your bosom and see if you 're fit, Then, as you wait calmly, just whistle a bit.