Today it is rare to come across a literary figure that also serves as an activist for his community.  Langston Hughes was just that.  He was an acclaimed writer, playwright, and social activist by means of his work.  He was also well-traveled and often times accused of being a communist; claims which have little base.  Regardless of his political associations the man was a poetic genius.  His poems are simple, undiluted masterpieces.  Since I’m reading through a complete collection of his work “The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, Editor Arnold Rampersad, and Associate Editor David Roessel,”  I’d like to share a few poems with you all.  I’ll try to post some of his lesser known poems so that you can get a true sense of his poetic prowess.  If you would like to share any poems by Langston Hughes, or by any other poet you hold in high esteem please leave them in the comment box below.

Without further ado here are a few poems of his I’m really digging, enjoy!

 

God to Hungry Child

Hungry child,

I didn’t make the world for you,

You didn’t buy any stock in my railroad.

You didn’t invest in my corporation.

Where are your shares in standard oil?

I made the world for the rich

And the will-be-rich

And the have-always-been-rich.

Not for you,

Hungry child.

 

Justice

That Justice is a blind goddess

Is a thing to which we black are wise.

Her bandage hides two festering sores

That once perhaps were eyes.

 

My People

The night is beautiful,

So the faces of my people.

The stars are beautiful,

So the eyes of my people.

Beautiful, also, is the sun.

Beautiful, also, are the souls of my people.

 

Formula

Poetry should treat

Of lofty things

Soaring thoughts

And birds with wings.

The Muse of Poetry

Should not know

That roses

In manure grow.

The Muse of Poetry

Should not care

That earthly pain

Is everywhere.

Poetry!

Treats of lofty things:

Soaring thoughts

And birds with wings.

That all folks!  I apologize if the form of some of the poems is distorted.  I tried to copy them as true to form as possible.

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