Thursday, June 05, 2008

Sing it out, Langston!


I found this 70-year old poem at Daily Kos this morning

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!

from Let America be America Again (1938)
Langston Hughes [1902 - 67].

8 comments:

FranIAm said...

Wow- I am astounded. Thanks for this.

Grandmère Mimi said...

The America of our fondest nostalgic dreams never was, but the ideal, to which we may yet aspire, is still there.

"America will be!"

Jane R said...

Amen, and the whole poem is worth reading. Hughes wrote the poem in the late 1930s, I think.

Lindy said...

As if ripped from today's headlines...

Hey, is that your tat?

Paul said...

Lindy, I am tatless. If I were to get one (or two) 'twould be: a medicine wheel on one deltoid - if I had deltoids - and a bear paw design on the other (the bear being my totem and quite unrelated to my being a large pear-shaped man with body hair). I doubt that it shall ever happen. (I did have a piercing once but got rid of it - and no, it wasn't that exotic.)

Jane, thanks to the link to more Hughes.

Yes, Mimi, the dream is still there to live into.

Diane said...

oh yes, Amen to that!

The Cunning Runt said...

How current great art always seems to be!

His "Columbia" (actual name?) makes me tremble with hope and despair, with pride and rage, and inspires me to try to write.

Someday, perhaps...

Ellie Finlay said...

Yes, I have loved that poem for years. And it reminds me of these Lawrence Ferlinghetti lines:

and I am waiting
for a rebirth of wonder
and I am waiting
for someone to really discover America