Arts & Culture

Langston Hughes: A Collection of Poetry

Langston Hughes was born on February 1, 1902 in Missouri.  His parents separated when he was very young, and he was raised by his grandmother. After his grandmother passed away, he moved in with his mother.  It was around this time, in his early teens, that he began writing poetry.  He later traveled and worked in many places across the globe, including Paris, Mexico, and Africa.  He rapidly rose to fame as he began publishing his poems.  He was known as one of the founding fathers of the Harlem Renaissance, and a majority of his works emphasized racial equality and encouraged others to never stop chasing their dreams.  Hughes died in May of 1967 due to cancer.  He was honored by many after his death through the publishing and translation of his works, a funeral resplendent with jazz and blues music, and the awarding of the New York City Landmark Status to his home on East 127th Street.  His grave lies beneath the entrance of the Arthur Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem.  The inscription marking the place reads, “My soul has grown deep like the rivers.” 

 

Below is a short collection of his poems.  I hope you enjoy them! 

 

As I Grew Older

It was a long time ago. 

I have almost forgotten my dream. 

But it was there then,

In front of me,

Bright like a sun—

My dream.

And then the wall rose,

Rose slowly,

Slowly,

Between me and my dream.

Rose until it touched the sky—

The wall.

Shadow.

I am black.

I lie down in the shadow.

No longer the light of my dream before me,

Above me.

Only the thick wall.

Only the shadow.

My hands! 

My dark hands! 

Break through the wall! 

Find my dream! 

Help me to shatter this darkness,

To smash this night,

To break this shadow

Into a thousand lights of sun,

Into a thousand whirling dreams

Of sun! 

 

Dreams 

Hold fast to dreams

For if dreams die

Life is a broken-winged bird

That cannot fly.

 

Hold fast to dreams

For when dreams go

Life is a barren field

Frozen with snow.

 

April Rain Song

Let the rain kiss you

Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops

Let the rain sing you a lullaby

The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk

The rain makes running pools in the gutter

The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night

And I love the rain. 

 

The City

In the morning the city

Spreads its wings

Making a song

In stone that sings.

In the evening the city

Goes to bed

Hanging lights 

Above its head. 

 

Helen Keller

She,

In the dark,

Found light

Brighter than many ever see.

She,

Within herself,

Found loveliness,

Through the soul’s own mastery.

And now the world receives

From her dower:

The message of the strength

Of inner power. 

 

I hope you have found the unique perspective of Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance to be inspiring and intriguing. Hughes has so many more poems and has even written autobiographies.  I definitely suggest reading more of his works in your spare time.  I hope to see y’all next time! 

 

Works Cited: 

“Langston Hughes Biography.”  Biography.com.  A&E Television Networks.  April 2, 2014. www.biography.com/people/langston-hughes-9346313  16 February, 2019. 

“As I Grew Older – Poem by Langston Hughes”.  Poem Hunter.  www.poemhunter.com/poem/as-i-grew-older/  16 February, 2019. 

“Dreams – Poem by Langston Hughes.”  Poem Hunter.  www.poemhunter.com/poem/dreams-2/  

“April Rain Song – Poem by Langston Hughes.”  Poem Hunter.  www.poemhunter.com/poem/april-rain-song/  16 February, 2019. 

“The City – Poem by Langston Hughes.”  Poem Hunter. www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-city-53/  16 February, 2019. 

“Helen Keller – Poem by Langston Hughes.”  Poem Hunter. www.poemhunter.com/poem/helen-keller/  16 February, 2019.  

2 Comments

  1. Good Job Emma! I especially liked “The City.”

  2. Hedgehog Lilia, a Fellow Poet.

    Dreams is SO good! keep it up!