WHO dat knockin’ at de do’?
Why, Ike Johnson, — yes, fu’ sho!
Come in, Ike. I’s mighty glad
You come down. I t’ought you’s
mad
At me ’bout de othah night,
An’ was stayin’ ‘way fu’ spite.
Say, now, was you mad fu’ true
W’en I kin’ o’ laughed at you?
Speak up, Ike, an’ ‘spress yo’se’f.

‘T ain’t no use a-lookin’ sad,
An’ a-mekin’ out you’s mad;
Ef you’s gwine to be so glum,
Wondah why you evah come.
I don’t lak nobody ‘roun’
Dat jes’ shet dey mouf an’ frown,–
Oh, now, man, don’t act a dunce!
Cain’t you talk? I tol’ you once,
Speak up, Ike, an’ ‘spress yo’se’f.

Wha’d you come hyeah fu’ to-night?
Body’d t’ink yo’ haid ain’t right.
I’s done all dat I kin do,–
Dressed perticler, jes’ fu’ you;
Reckon I’d ‘a’ bettah wo’
My ol’ ragged calico.
Aftah all de pains I’s took,
Cain’t you tell me how I look?
Speak up, Ike, an’ ‘spress yo’se’f.

Bless my soul! I ‘mos’ fu’got
Tellin’ you ’bout Tildy Scott.
Don’t you know, come Thu’sday
night,
She gwine ma’y Lucius White?
Miss Lize say I allus wuh
Heap sight laklier ‘n huh;
An’ she’ll git me somep’n new,
Ef I wants to ma’y too.
Speak up, Ike, an’ ‘spress yo’se’f.

I could ma’y in a week,
Ef de man I wants ‘ud speak.
Tildy’s presents’ll be fine,
But dey would n’t ekal mine.
Him whut gits me fu’ a wife
‘Ll be proud, you bet yo’ life.
I’s had offers; some ain’t quit;
But I has n’t ma’ied yit!
Speak up, Ike, an’ ‘spress yo’se’f.

Ike, I loves you,–yes, I does;
You’s my choice, and allus was.
Laffin’ at you ain’t no harm.–
Go ‘way, dahky, whaih’s yo’ arm?
Hug me closer–dah, dat’s right!
Was n’t you a awful sight,
Havin’ me to baig you so?
Now ax whut you want to know,–
Speak up, Ike, an’ ‘spress yo’se’f!

Analysis, meaning and summary of Paul Laurence Dunbar's poem Encouragement

1 Comment

  1. verna whitney says:

    This is wonderfuly written poetry. The flow of conversation never misses a beat. Personality and desire place you in the presence of a very intimate and bold revelation. This poet has class and style.
    talent.

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