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 …
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?