The Deserted Plantation – Paul Laurence Dunbar, 1899

Oh, de grubbin’-hoe’s a-rustin’ in de co’nah,
An’ de plow ‘s a-tumblin’ down in de fiel’,
While de whippo’ will’s a-wailin’ lak a mou’nah
When his stubbo’n hea’t is tryin’ ha’d to yiel’

In de furrers whah de co’n was alius waving
Now de weeds is growin’ green an’ rank an’ tall;
An’ de swallers round’ de whole place is a-bravin’
Lak dey thought deir folks had alius owned it all.

An’ de big house stands all quiet lak an’ solemn,
Not a blessed soul in pa’lor, po’ch, er lawn;
Not a guest, ner not a ca’iage lef’ to haul ’em,
Fu’ de ones dat tu’ned de latch-string out air gone.

An’ de banjo’s voice is silent in de quarters,
D’ ain’t a hymn ner co’n-song ringin’ in de air
But de murmur of a branch’s passin’ waters
Is de only soun’ dat breks de stillness dere.

Whah’s de darkies, dem dat used to be a-dancin’
Ev’ry night befo’ de ol’ cabin do’?
Whah’s de chillun, dem dat used to be a-prancin’
Er a-rollin’ in de san’ er on de flo’?

Whah’s ol’ Uncle Mordecai an’ Uncle Aaron?
Whah’s Aunt Doshy, Sam, an’ Kit, an’ all de res’?
Whah’s ol’ Tom de da’ky fiddlah, how’s he farin’?
Whah’s de gals dat used to sing an’ dance de bes’?

Gone! not one o’ dem is lef to tell de story;
Dey have lef’ de deah ol’ place to fall away.
Couldn’t one o’ dem dat seed it in its glory
Stay to watch it in de hour of decay?

Dey have lef’ de ol’ plantation to de swallers,
But it hol’s in me a lover till de las’;
Fu’ I fin’ hyeah in de memory dat follers
All dat loved me an’ dat I loved in de pas’.

So I’ll stay an’ watch de deah ol’ place an’ tend it
Ez I used to in de happy days gone by.
Twell de othah Mastah thinks it’s time to end it,
An’ calls me to my qua’ters in de sky.

call to chat