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The Poets

February 01, 2011

Happy Date of Birth, Hughes


It has been roughly two and a half years since I was first introduced to Langston Hughes by a friend of mine, Najin Aryan. He’s a very talented poet who I came to adore almost immediately.

It just happened to be that at the time I was introduced to Hughes I was reading Derek Alton Walcott's, A Far Cry from Africa … which is a very, very intense poem about ethnic loyalties from the perspective of a person mixed between black and white. Then, happenstancedly, I read Hughes’ poem ‘Cross’ which has similar racial overtones and concerns.

Yep, Hughes as a poet had immediate hold on me. That poem ‘Cross’ is below- let me know what you think.

Happy birthday, Mr. James Mercer Langston Hughes …


*****


Cross

My old man's a white old man
And my old mother's black.
If ever I cursed my white old man
I take my curses back.
If ever I cursed my black old mother
And wished she were in hell,

I'm sorry for that evil wish
And now I wish her well
My old man died in a fine big house.
My ma died in a shack.
I wonder were I'm going to die,
Being neither white nor black?

4 comments:

PJ said...

I really like that poem and I have liked everything I have read by Hughes.

Nancy said...

I don't think it matters much where you die, but where you go thereafter. And I know with certainty where you, John May, will end your journey.

Peter William Carrillo said...

I love Langston Hughes, and this one is one of my favorites.

Daij said...

I feel bad for not having noted Langston Hughes' birthday. He was the reason I fell in love with poetry when I was 7, and I have every book and poem he's published. Thank you for commemorating his birthday!

As of April 9th, 2010