“The Negro Speaks of Rivers”
I’ve known rivers:
I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins.
My soul has grown deep like the rivers.
I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down to New Orleans,
and I’ve seen its muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset.
“The Negro Speaks of Rivers” read by Langson Hughes
Commentary on the poem: http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/g_l/hughes/rivers.htm
A Dream Deferred
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?
“A hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12
Abiola Valentine’s Reading of “A Dream Deferred”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9n0Lgj-suw&feature=related
Compare “A Dream Deferred” to “Dreams” (as read by Langston Hughes): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpjFS3CQkKE&feature=related
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 boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor —
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.
A Reading of Mother to Son: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bhbDIlmtlY&feature=related
Langston Hughes, The Weary Blues: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyqwvC5s4n8
Harlem Renaissance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlPaSgnjuOI&feature=related
“Sometimes I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can anyone deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me.” ~ Zora Neale Hurston