#atozchallenge – Langston Hughes Inspires Me


150223_r26162-830When I was a young girl, one of my favorite poems was by the poet Langston Hughes:

Hold Fast To 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

by Langston Hughes

I don’t remember exactly when I first heard or saw the poem, but it stuck with me all through my childhood. I would repeat it over and over again in my head. I just knew that the words resonated so well with me and encouraged me to hold on to my dreams of being a writer.

I had no clue who Langston Hughes was or his significance and wouldn’t know until later on when I was a teenager. It was only then that I realized after reading more of his work just how important his poetry was to blacks struggling to be free and have dreams in America. This poem shows the more recognizable style in which he wrote:

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—
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

Langston’s poetry encouraged me to write in a natural tone, personalized, and to dig deep into my emotions and allow them to flow. Without his influence, I doubt I would be the poet I am today.

Interesting Facts: Langston Hughes is best know as the leader of the Harlem Renaissance and his poetry has been labeled Jazz Poetry. He wrote mostly about the struggles of the working-class blacks in America. He was also a novelist, playwright and social activist. (source)


Thank you for joining me for the A-to-Z Challenge. If you’d like to see who else is participating, check them out here.
Each day, I will be posting about People Who Inspire Me.