The Poetry Corner


By Paul Laurence Dunbar

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 th'owed 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 apeerin', Lookin' fe' de scraps you lef' at leas'. Wen 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."