Tuesday, February 16, 2016

29 days of book love...

A classic collection of poems by a master of American verse
Selected Poems of Langston Hughes

This book contains a selection of the poems of Langston Hughes chosen by himself from his earlier volumes. 

I bought this book years ago while I was student teaching.  I used it to teach at a difficult high school with struggling students.  Some of the students got into Langston, some of them were bored, and one student fell in LOVE.  He'd never heard of Langston and was amazed-truly-to discover a black artist with such talent. It was a good moment for me as a young teacher to see the light shine in his eyes.  

Harlem Night Song

Let us roam the night together

I Love you.

the Harlem roof-tops 
Moon is shining.
Night sky is blue.
Stars are great drops
of golden dew. 

Down the street
A band is playing.

I love you.

Let us roam the night together

I think he has an interesting eye, poetic sarcasm, and the ability to say it like it is but in beautiful verse.


Democracy will not come
Today, this year
  Nor ever
Through compromise and fear.

I have as much right 
As the other fellow has
To stand 
On my own two feet
And own the land.

I tire so of hearing people say,
Let things take their course.
Tomorrow is another day.
I do not need my freedom when I'm dead.
I cannot live on tomorrow's bread.

Is a strong seed
In great need.
I live here, too.
I want freedom
Just as you.

Sadly Langston's poems still resonate today as relevant not historical. We need to consistently be working on the racism that prevails in our country. Today. Now.  We can't wait for future generations, we can't let more young black men or women die just because of the color of their skin.  
His poetry is powerful stuff.  This is the book I pick up when I need some inspiration.

No comments: