The Mystery

I was not; now I am—a few days hence
I shall not be; I fain would look before
And after, but can neither do; some Power
Or lack of power says “no” to all I would.
I stand upon a wide and sunless plain,
Nor chart nor steel to guide my steps aright.
Whene’er, o’ercoming fear, I dare to move,
I grope without direction and by chance.
Some feign to hear a voice and feel a hand
That draws them ever upward thro’ the gloom.
But I—I hear no voice and touch no hand,
Tho’ oft thro’ silence infinite I list,
And strain my hearing to supernal sounds;
Tho’ oft thro’ fateful darkness do I reach,
And stretch my hand to find that other hand.
I question of th’ eternal bending skies
That seem to neighbor with the novice earth;
But they roll on, and daily shut their eyes
On me, as I one day shall do on them,
And tell me not the secret that I ask.

Paul Laurence Dunbar, 18721906

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Les

Retired from manufacturing management in 2012. Currently an active semi retired NASM Certified Personal Trainer. Exercise, philosophy, politics, government, science, and family occupies my non working and sleeping hours. Destroying the rancid acrimony that exists between conservatives and liberals, an acrimony destroying the very fabric of our society, is the ends to which this site dedicates itself.

2 thoughts on “The Mystery”

    1. It is a shame Jersey. I just recently found Dunbar and enjoy his work considerably. To me this poem speaks to all of us, our human condition at some point in our lives.. I think.

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