A welcome to readers

As a resident of this planet for more than four fifths of a century, I have enjoyed both successes and disappointments in a wide variety of vocations, avocations, and life experiences. This blog satisfies my desire to share some thoughts and observations--trenchant and prosaic--with those who are searching for diversions which are interesting, poignant and occasionally funny. I also plan to share recommendations about good/great movies I've watched and books and articles which I've found particularly mind-opening, entertaining, instructive. In addition, I can't pass up the opportunity to reflect publicly on how I am experiencing the so-called Golden Years. Write anytime:

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Trying to make sense of what I see of life of life in America on TV news these days, I sometimes turn to the arts, in this case to poetry.  Helps me to see more clearly, inwardly...as well as outwardly. Sharpens my feelings of guilt, my pain over what I and my white countrymen have done, are doing--and have allowed to be done--intentionally and unthinkingly.  I am particularly enlightened by Hughes, but feel no relief. "I, too, am America."

Poems by Langston Hughes (1902-1967)

    By what sends
    the white kids
    I ain't sent:
    I know I can't
    be President.What don't bug
    them white kids
    sure bugs me:
    We know everybody
    ain't free.
    Lies written down
    for white folks
    ain't for us a-tall:
    Liberty And Justice —
    Huh! For All?
    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?
    Comes the Colored Hour:
    Martin Luther King is Governor of Georgia,
    Dr. Rufus Clement his Chief Adviser,
    A. Philip Randolph the High Grand Worthy.
    In white pillared mansions
    Sitting on their wide verandas,
    Wealthy Negroes have white servants,
    White sharecroppers work the black plantations,
    And colored children have white mammies:
    Mammy Faubus
    Mammy Eastland
    Mammy Wallace
    Dear, dear darling old white mammies--
    Sometimes even buried with our family.
    Dear old
    Mammy Faubus!
    Culture, they say, is a two-way street:
    Hand me my mint julep, mammny.
    Hurry up!
    Make haste!
    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.
    I, too, sing America.I am the darker brother.
    They send me to eat in the kitchen
    When company comes,
    But I laugh,
    And eat well,
    And grow strong.
    I'll be at the table
    When company comes.
    Nobody'll dare
    Say to me,
    "Eat in the kitchen,"
    They'll see how beautiful I am
    And be ashamed--
    I, too, am America.
    Let America be America again.
    Let it be the dream it used to be.
    Let it be the pioneer on the plain
    Seeking a home where he himself is free.(America never was America to me.)
    Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed —
    Let it be that great strong land of love
    Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
    That any man be crushed by one above.
    (It never was America to me.)
    O, let my land be a land where Liberty
    Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
    But opportunity is real, and life is free,
    Equality is in the air we breathe.
    (There's never been equality for me,
    Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")
    Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
    And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?
    I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
    I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
    I am the red man driven from the land,
    I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek —
    And finding only the same old stupid plan
    Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.
    I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
    Tangled in that ancient endless chain
    Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
    Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
    Of work the men! Of take the pay!
    Of owning everything for one's own greed!
    I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
    I am the worker sold to the machine.
    I am the Negro, servant to you all.
    I am the people, humble, hungry, mean —
    Hungry yet today despite the dream.
    Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers!
    I am the man who never got ahead,
    The poorest worker bartered through the years.
    Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
    In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
    Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
    That even yet its mighty daring sings
    In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
    That's made America the land it has become.
    O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
    In search of what I meant to be my home —
    For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
    And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
    And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
    To build a "homeland of the free."
    The free?
    Who said the free? Not me?
    Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
    The millions shot down when we strike?
    The millions who have nothing for our pay?
    For all the dreams we've dreamed
    And all the songs we've sung
    And all the hopes we've held
    And all the flags we've hung,
    The millions who have nothing for our pay —
    Except the dream that's almost dead today.
    O, let America be America again —
    The land that never has been yet —
    And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
    The land that's mine — the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME —
    Who made America,
    Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
    Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
    Must bring back our mighty dream again.
    Sure, call me any ugly name you choose —
    The steel of freedom does not stain.
    From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
    We must take back our land again,
    O, yes,
    I say it plain,
    America never was America to me,
    And yet I swear this oath —
    America will be!
    Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
    The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
    We, the people, must redeem
    The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
    The mountains and the endless plain —
    All, all the stretch of these great green states —
    And make America again!
    Where is the Jim Crow section
    On this merry-go-round,
    Mister, cause I want to ride?
    Down South where I come from
    White and colored
    Can't sit side by side.
    Down South on the train
    There's a Jim Crow car.
    On the bus we're put in the back —
    But there ain't no back
    To a merry-go-round!
    Where's the horse
    For a kid that's
    Sweet and docile,
    Meek, humble and kind:
    Beware the day
    They change their mind!Wind
    In the cotton fields,
    Gentle Breeze:
    Beware the hour
    It uproots trees!
    What happens to a dream deferred?
    Does it dry up
    Like a raisin in the sun?
    Or fester like a sore--
    And then run?
    Does it stink like rotten meat?
    Or crust and sugar over--
    like a syrupy sweet?
    Maybe it just sags
    like a heavy load.
    Or does it explode?
    Too many years
    Beatin' at the door —
    I done beat my
    both fists sore.Too many years
    Tryin' to get up there —
    Done broke my ankles down,
    Got nowhere.
    Too many years
    Climbin' that hill,
    'Bout out of breath.
    I got my fill.
    I'm gonna plant my feet
    On solid ground.
    If you want to see me,
    Come down.
Copyright © Langston Hughes.

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