A Sunday poem from Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson

Alice Dunbar-Nelson

It’s Sunday morning here in London and I have resigned to do nothing but be idle and, well, write this Stuff Post. I am reminded of Alice Dunbar-Nelson and her wry poem on idleness. Writer, poet, journalist, and teacher, Alice used her writings to advocate for the rights of women and African-Americans and was considered one of the premier poets of the Harlem Renaissance. Love, Susie x 

 The Idler

An idle lingerer on the wayside's road,
He gathers up his work and yawns away;
A little longer, ere the tiresome load
Shall be reduced to ashes or to clay.

No matter if the world has marched along,
And scorned his slowness as it quickly passed;
No matter, if amid the busy throng,
He greets some face, infantile at the last.

His mission? Well, there is but one,
And if it is a mission he knows it, nay,
To be a happy idler, to lounge and sun,
And dreaming, pass his long-drawn days away.

So dreams he on, his happy life to pass
Content, without ambitions painful sighs,
Until the sands run down into the glass;
He smiles—content—unmoved and dies.

And yet, with all the pity that you feel
For this poor mothling of that flame, the world;
Are you the better for your desperate deal,
When you, like him, into infinitude are hurled?


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