Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bearden Juxtaposed with Dunbar

Romare Bearden, The Prevalence of Ritual: Mysteries, 1964

We went over this artwork today in class, and it reminded me of We Wear the Mask by Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)

  WE wear the mask that grins and lies,
    It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
    This debt we pay to human guile;
    With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
    And mouth with myriad subtleties.

    Why should the world be over-wise,
    In counting all our tears and sighs?
    Nay, let them only see us, while
            We wear the mask.

    We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
    To thee from tortured souls arise.
    We sing, but oh the clay is vile
    Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
    But let the world dream otherwise,
            We wear the mask!

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