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Keep A-Pluggin' Away
by
Paul Laurence Dunbar


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I've a humble little motto
That is homely, though it 's true, –
Keep a-pluggin' away.
It's a thing when I've an object
That I always try to do, –
Keep a-pluggin' away.
When you've rising storms to quell,
When opposing waters swell,
It will never fail to tell, –
Keep a-pluggin' away.

If the hills are high before
And the paths are hard to climb,
Keep a-pluggin' away.
And remember that successes
Come to him who bides his time, –
Keep a-pluggin' away.
From the greatest to the least,
None are from the rule released.
Be thou toiler, poet, priest,
Keep a-pluggin' away.

Delve away beneath the surface,
There is treasure farther down, –
Keep a-pluggin' away.
Let the rain come down in torrents,
Let the threat'ning heavens frown,
Keep a-pluggin' away.
When the clouds have rolled away,
There will come a brighter day
All your labor to repay, –
Keep a-pluggin' away.

There 'll be lots of sneers to swallow,
There 'll be lots of pain to bear, –
Keep a-pluggin' away.
If you've got your eye on heaven,
Some bright day you'll wake up there, –
Keep a-pluggin' away.
Perseverance still is king;
Time its sure reward will bring;
Work and wait unwearying, –
Keep a-pluggin' away.
 
This poem is in the public domain.
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Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906) was from Ohio. He wrote his first poem at the age of six, was editor of his high school newspaper, and published his first book at twenty. His writing attracted attention from the very beginning, and Paul became well-known in both America and around the world. Like James Whitcomb Riley, who was a fan of his young contemporary's work, Paul wrote many of his poems in dialect. Besides a dozen books of poetry, Paul wrote four short story collections, five novels, a play, and the first  Broadway musical ever written and performed by African-Americans. A tremendously successful poet whose work was being published in all the major literary publications of his day, Paul's life was cut tragically short by tuberculosis.


Post New Comment:
Dorcas:
Great poem. I remember my High School teachers advice at our graduation saying how perseverance was the way to go. My Junior High School was named after Paul Lawrence Dunbar, P.S. 120.
Posted 06/01/2013 08:16 PM
Katrina:
I have met Paul Laurence Dunbar's soulful poetry through his work on paradox. He really steps into his language.
Posted 05/31/2013 06:40 AM


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