Verse > Anthologies > James Weldon Johnson, ed. > The Book of American Negro Poetry
See also: Paul Laurence Dunbar Biography
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James Weldon Johnson, ed. (1871–1938).  The Book of American Negro Poetry.  1922.
 
The Debt
 
Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872–1906)
 
 
THIS is the debt I pay
Just for one riotous day,
Years of regret and grief,
Sorrow without relief.
 
Pay it I will to the end—        5
Until the grave, my friend,
Gives me a true release—
Gives me the clasp of peace.
 
Slight was the thing I bought,
Small was the debt I thought,        10
Poor was the loan at best—
God! but the interest!
 

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