Tag Archives: Albert Bloch

We Wear the Mask

Conversation. Albert Bloch. 1950.


We Wear the Mask

Paul Laurence Dunbar


We wear the mask that grins and lies,

It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—

This debt we pay to human guilde;

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 slay is vile

Beneath our feet, and long the mile;

But let the world dream otherwise,

We wear the mask.


Bloch’s expressionist painting and Dunbar’s moving poem about the plight of African Americans share a common theme of social deception.