Paul Laurence Dunbar had a sense of rhythm very similar to Rudyard Kipling. His works are in the public domain and may be downloaded freely from Project Gutenberg, HERE. There are multiple formats available, including EPUB, Kindle, plain text, and HTML for on-line reading.
The Voice of the Banjo
by Paul Laurence Dunbar
In a small and lonely cabin out of noisy traffic’s way,
Sat an old man, bent and feeble, dusk of face, and hair of gray,
And beside him on the table, battered, old, and worn as he,
Lay a banjo, droning forth this reminiscent melody:
“Night is closing in upon us, friend of mine, but don’t be sad;
Let us think of all the pleasures and the joys that we have had.
Let us keep a merry visage, and be happy till the last,
Let the future still be sweetened with the honey of the past.
“For I speak to you of summer nights upon the yellow sand,
When the Southern moon was sailing high and silvering all the land;
And if love tales were not sacred, there’s a tale that I could tell
Of your many nightly wanderings with a dusk and lovely belle.
“And I speak to you of care-free songs when labour’s hour was o’er,
And a woman waiting for your step outside the cabin door,
And of something roly-poly that you took upon your lap,
While you listened for the stumbling, hesitating words, ‘Pap, pap.’
“I could tell you of a ‘possum hunt across the wooded grounds,
I could call to mind the sweetness of the baying of the hounds,
You could lift me up and smelling of the timber that ‘s in me,
Build again a whole green forest with the mem’ry of a tree.
“So the future cannot hurt us while we keep the past in mind,
What care I for trembling fingers,– what care you that you are blind?
Time may leave us poor and stranded, circumstance may make us bend;
But they ‘ll only find us mellower, won’t they, comrade?– in the end.”
“Sometimes, carrying on– just carrying on– is the superhuman achievement.” ~Albert Camus
Their voices blend so well together. It’s obvious they know a thing or two about harmony.
“The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.” ~Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“The thing the Sixties did was to show us the possibilities and the responsibilities that we all had. It wasn’t the answer. It just gave us glimpses of the possibility.” ~John Lennon
I don’t think they’re smiling for the cameras, I think these are two musical soulmates who found someone to play with.
“I drank coffee and read old books and waited for the year to end.” ~Richard Brautigan, from Trout Fishing in America ©1967
And that reminded me of this:
There’s something about his cover version that really grew on me.
Full lyrics HERE.
When I was a kid you could pay a few pennies more for a stamp to send your letter airmail, and for a few dimes more you could get a Special Delivery stamp.
My Aunt Helen used to always send my birthday cards Special Delivery. I don’t think it really got to me any faster, but it always made me feel special– and that, of course, is why she did it.