The Poetry Corner

The Gourd

By Paul Laurence Dunbar

In the heavy earth the miner Toiled and laboured day by day, Wrenching from the miser mountain Brilliant treasure where it lay. And the artist worn and weary Wrought with labour manifold That the king might drink his nectar From a goblet made of gold. On the prince's groaning table Mid the silver gleaming bright Mirroring the happy faces Giving back the flaming light, Shine the cups of priceless crystal Chased with many a lovely line, Glowing now with warmer colour, Crimsoned by the ruby wine. In a valley sweet with sunlight, Fertile with the dew and rain, Without miner's daily labour, Without artist's nightly pain, There there grows the cup I drink from, Summer's sweetness in it stored, And my lips pronounce a blessing As they touch an old brown gourd. Why, the miracle at Cana In the land of Galilee, Tho' it puzzles all the scholars, Is no longer strange to me. For the poorest and the humblest Could a priceless wine afford, If they 'd only dip up water With a sunlight-seasoned gourd. So a health to my old comrade, And a song of praise to sing When he rests inviting kisses In his place beside the spring. Give the king his golden goblets, Give the prince his crystal hoard; But for me the sparkling water From a brown and brimming gourd!