Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mother to Son by Langston Hughes

I have a few favorite literature pieces that I set aside for Black History Month. One is Langston Hughes' poem Mother to Son. The speaker is a tough broad who has faced some harsh challenges. She tells her son (in so many words) not to whine, not to be a wimp, not to be lazy, and not to give up. I find this is solid advice for all us- young and old alike.

Well, son, I'll tell you: Life for me ain't been no crystal stair. It's had tacks in it, And splinters, And boards torn up, And places with no carpet on the floor -- Bare. But all the time I'se been a-climbin' on

And reachin' landin's, And turnin' corners, And sometimes goin' in the dark

Where there ain't been no light.

So boy, don't you turn back.

Don't you set down on the steps

'Cause you finds it's kinder hard.

Don't you fall now -- For I'se still goin', honey,

I'se still climbin',

And life for me ain't been no crystal stair.

By Langston Hughes

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Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El/e) said...

I loved Langston Hughes in college, and have read him to my fifth graders--he hasn't come up yet in fourth grade. Hm, how might I change that?

Aimee said...

This has been one of my favorites since high school. I've always loved it!

MissJean said...

I have loved this poem because it reminds me of all the women (and men) in worn-out shoes and carefully-mended shoes who just kept on fulfilling their duties, whether it was going to church or visiting their shut-in neighbors.

jerry said...

One of my all time favorite poems. I remember a few years ago, I had third graders that enthusiastically volunteered to read this poem aloud. The energy they put into it was amazing. Thank you for bringing it back to life for me.

Suburban Correspondent said...