I was moved to revisit one of the many authors I read in childhood and as a young adult, particularly Paul Laurence Dunbar
“We Wear the Mask” due to two of my fellow Comrades responses to recent written content which brought it to the forefront of my mind.
We Wear the Mask
BY PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR
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! https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/paul-laurence-dunbar