The Poetry Corner

Puttin' The Baby Away

By Paul Laurence Dunbar

Eight of 'em hyeah all tol' an' yet Dese eyes o' mine is wringin' wet; My haht's a-achin' ha'd an' so', De way hit nevah ached befo'; My soul's a-pleadin', "Lawd, give back Dis little lonesome baby black, Dis one, dis las' po' he'pless one Whose little race was too soon run." Po' Little Jim, des fo' yeahs ol' A-layin' down so still an' col'. Somehow hit don' seem ha'dly faih, To have my baby lyin' daih Wi'dout a smile upon his face, Wi'dout a look erbout de place; He ust to be so full o' fun Hit don' seem right dat all's done, done. Des eight in all but I don' caih, Dey wa'nt a single one to spaih; De worl' was big, so was my haht, An' dis hyeah baby owned hit's paht; De house was po', dey clothes was rough, But daih was meat an' meal enough; An' daih was room fu' little Jim; Oh! Lawd, what made you call fu' him?. It do seem monst'ous ha'd to-day, To lay dis baby boy away; I'd learned to love his teasin' smile, He mought o' des been lef' erwhile; You wouldn't t'ought wid all de folks, Dat's roun' hyeah mixin' teahs an' jokes, De Lawd u'd had de time to see Dis chile an' tek him 'way f'om me. But let it go, I reckon Jim, 'Ll des go right straight up to Him Dat took him f'om his mammy's nest An' lef dis achin' in my breas', An' lookin' in dat fathah's face An' 'memberin' dis lone sorrerin' place, He'll say, "Good Lawd, you ought to had Do sumpin' fu' to comfo't dad!"