World Poetry Day 2017

I have a number of unfinished poems in my notebooks that I wish were in shareable condition. But they aren’t, so I can’t share them (yet). But there is a poem that is I want to share by Langston Hughes…two poems actually. I found these two poems in  school library books many years ago. I made sure to add the anthologies I found them in to my bookshelf.

The first poem is from a collection called, “I Am The Darker Brother.” (The book is still in print. I highly recommend adding this to your collection!)

Me and the Mule

My old mule,
He’s got a grin on his face.
He’s been a mule so long,
He’s forgot about his race.

I’m like that old mule –
Black-and don’t give a damn!
You got to take me
Like I am.

This is a short, sweet, and to the point poem, but it has so much attitude it makes me smile every time I read or even think of it. If the mule is free to be his authentic self, why shouldn’t a black man enjoy the same liberty?

The second poem is more poignant. This poem can be found in a collection called, “American Negro Poetry.” I also recommend this collection for your bookshelf.

Mother to Son

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.

This is a message that every parent has for their child: Do your best; Don’t give up; If I can do it, you can do it and do it better. You find in this piece that the mother may not have a great education – indicated by her broken english – but she pressed on in the hopes that her son would witness her efforts and follow her lead.

Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri on February 1, 1902. His full name was James Mercer Langston Hughes.  He was one of several key figures of group of black writers called The Harlem Renaissance. Hughes died on May 22, 1967. Click the links to read more about Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance.

Photo credit: Portrait of Langston Hughes. Photo by Gordon Parks / Library of Congress.

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I Wish I’d Thought of That!

Every now and then, I find myself in awe of what someone else has written and say to myself, “I wish I’d thought of that!” This usually happens when I’m listening to a song.

Three songs in particular come to mind:

  • Let My Love Adorn You by Miguel
  • More Than Words by Extreme (NOTHING beats that original version!)
  • Break Even (Falling to Pieces) by The Script

With Miguel’s song, the spiritual concept of covering (protecting)/dressing someone in your love. Think about it. How beautiful you must be if you are covered in pure love. This is my favorite verse from the song:

Baby, these fists will always protect ya, lady
This mind, oh, will never neglect you, yeah baby, oh baby
And they stay trying to break us down,  but don’t let that affect us, no, baby
You just gotta let my love
Let my love adorn you

SIGN. ME. UP. FOR. THAT!!! How intense is that? This guy and pretty much begging to be the girl’s knight in shining armor! I wish I’d thought of it!

Now, I’m telling my age, but More than Words was a HUGE song when I was in high school. It’s a simple song that says, “Don’t just tell me, show me how much you love me.” No heavy band in the background, just the guitar and voice, which adds more impact to the what the song is saying. The words are perfect:

 

I could have written the lyrics to Break Even by The Script, but I didn’t. That line at the end of the verse, “‘Cause when a heart breaks, no it don’t break even.” Those are the truest words ever written and I wish I’d thought of it first. The entire goes through everything she gains in the break-up (none of them tangible items) and he loses. One person is usually a little bit more accepting of the end than the other. That’s the one that moves on with his or her life a little faster. It sums up the pain of heartbreak perfectly.

 

One television show has this affect on me, and keeps me coming back for more because it stirs up all of my emotions. They don’t have dramatic plot twists like Scandal or How to Get Away with Murder (two of my other favorite shows). No, this is what I call, “Gentle Drama.” This show is like an onion. It has layers and it will make you cry. Every week. I’m not exaggerating. The show, This is Us, is a story about a family. That’s it. Do you really need more drama than that? The three main characters are siblings, all born on the same day. The story follows their lives from the moment they were conceived, into their adulthood. What’s awesome is that they flashback to the early years often, so you get the back story and insight into what shaped each character. But they do it in such a way, that it doesn’t feel like information overload. Everything they show you is important. I can’t say that I wish I wrote this particular story, but I want to write with this much detail and thoughtfulness! I want to tell this type of story! I want people bawling and completely wrapped up in their feeling every time they read some thing I write, the same way this show has me all in the feels week after week!! (I really want to be a fly on the wall of their writing sessions for this show! I can’t even imagine how many boxes of tissue they run through in one sitting!)

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