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Paul Laurence Dunbar - 1872-1906
It’s all a farce,—these tales they tell
About the breezes sighing,
And moans astir o’er field and dell,
Because the year is dying.
Such principles are most absurd,—
I care not who first taught ’em;
There’s nothing known to beast or bird
To make a solemn autumn.
In solemn times, when grief holds sway
With countenance distressing,
You’ll note the more of black and gray
Will then be used in dressing.
Now purple tints are all around;
The sky is blue and mellow;
And e’en the grasses turn the ground
From modest green to yellow.
The seed burrs all with laughter crack
On featherweed and jimson;
And leaves that should be dressed in black
Are all decked out in crimson.
A butterfly goes winging by;
A singing bird comes after;
And Nature, all from earth to sky,
Is bubbling o’er with laughter.
The ripples wimple on the rills,
Like sparkling little lasses;
The sunlight runs along the hills,
And laughs among the grasses.
The earth is just so full of fun
It really can’t contain it;
And streams of mirth so freely run
The heavens seem to rain it.
Don’t talk to me of solemn days
In autumn’s time of splendor,
Because the sun shows fewer rays,
And these grow slant and slender.
Why, it’s the climax of the year,—
The highest time of living!—
Till naturally its bursting cheer
Just melts into thanksgiving.
To read more by this poet visit: https://poets.org/poem/merry-autumn
PROFILE: LIZ BERRY - Black Country Poet
For anyone born in the Black Country, Liz Berry is a poet, literally speaking their language.
Liz was born in Sedgley (1980), went to school locally, did a degree course at University in Edinburgh, where she studied the English language with a special interest in accents. She also earned an MA in Creative Writing.
Her love of words and poetry came from parents who enjoyed poetry, took her and her sister to Poetry Festivals and encouraged them to write from an early age.
Liz’s passion for words is keeping the Black Country dialect alive through the colloquialisms she uses in her verse. The dialect is important to Liz because over the years it has been much maligned but she says is something worth cherishing and celebrating, after all, when a dialect or language disappears from any kind of use, it is usually gone forever.
Many popular Black Country poems are humorous or tell stories of the area’s history.
Liz Berry’s poetry speaks more about emotions, relationships and thoughts. Dialects and accents create a rich and colourful backdrop to our lives and Liz is certainly an important part of the bigger picture.
Liz Berry has won many prizes including:
The Eric Gregory Award in 2009.
The Poetry London competition in 2012 for the poem Bird
the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2014
Find out more about Liz by visiting her website:
Watch Liz reading her poetry through the following links: