We wear the mask

"We wear the mask" is a song by B. E. Boykin, with text by Paul Lawrence Dunbar. Commissioned in 2019 by Mirror Visions ensemble, this piece was revised by Boykin in reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement and George Floyd in 2020.

Date: 2020Composer: B. E. BoykinText: Paul Laurence Dunbar

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    We wear the mask that grins and lies,
    It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
    This debt we pay to human guile;
    With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
    And mouth with myriad subtleties.
    Why should the world be over-wise,
    In counting all our tears and sighs?
    Nay, let them only see us, while
           We wear the mask.
    We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
    To thee from tortured souls arise.
    We sing, but oh the clay is vile
    Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
    But let the world dream otherwise,
           We wear the mask!

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