“Hold Fast to Dreams…”

February 1, 1902 – May 22, 1967

Langston Hughes was a Poet during the Harlem Renaissance.

His Poetry has moved me for a very long time.

Daddy first introduced me to his Poem;


My father believed without doubt

in the power of your dreams.

For That, I am grateful

My favorite poem of Mr. Hughes is

Let America Be America Again.

      This Poem must be sung,

Out Loud;

over and over and over again.

In honor of Langston Hughes

and of dreams…

Peace,   Jen

Thanks to Poets.org


Langston Hughes

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.

Let America Be America Again

Langston Hughes

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!

~ by Step On a Crack on February 2, 2012.

9 Responses to ““Hold Fast to Dreams…””

  1. Thank you for sharing your love of poetry with all. It truly opens the door to poetry when shared: it becomes less intimidating. LOVE Langston! Though I cry every time I read “Let America be America Again”


  2. Love it!


  3. All of this reminds me of a terrific poem I just listened to tonight online — it was Lawrence Ferlinghetti reading a recent poem he had written. Let me find the link again…

    Here you go: http://www.thenation.com/audio/164827/lawrence-ferlinghetti-reads-first-and-last-everything

    Some people may not agree with his politics. But looking at what he wrote and spoke as poetry? Great stuff.

    I was curious about Hughes’ poem “Let America Be America Again” — I know it, but I was wondering when it was written and published. Found out the answer here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let_America_be_America_Again



    So sad that since Hughes’ poem was written, not very much has changed. But, I suppose in the entire scheme of history, 77 years is not so very much. I hope that in the next 25-30 years perhaps we will be able to say more has changed. I hope. Just like in the first poem. Makes me think of Dickinson, too. “Hope is the thing with feathers…”


    • Mrs. D,

      I had to carve out time to listen to Ferlinghetti and I am SO glad I did. I LOVE IT! What a gorgeous and sad reckoning..
      Makes me want to dig out my old Bohemian Beret. What a POEM and a perfect companion piece to the Hughes Poem too. I love the beat sensibility to the rhythm of First and Last.. and I love the old blues rhythm of the Let America…

      These are really Poets who need to be read aloud. What a treat to hear LF read!

      Did you know they almost closed St. Marks in the Village in NYC? The rent went WAY up but a nationwide outcry saved it. ST. MARKS! come on people… First America poetry readings set to music with David Amram etc.

      I agree not much change from 1935 to today. Human Nature?


      Thank you from the bottom of my Poets Heart!

      XO Jen


  4. A great poet, and “truth teller”.


  5. […] “Hold Fast to Dreams…” (steponacrack.wordpress.com) Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in blah blah…rubbish! and tagged dangerous thing, Dream, Dream Journals, Dream Sharing, dreams, driving force, friend hope, George Bernard Shaw, Interpretation, limiting factor, peaceful life, Psychology, Social Sciences, Theories and Research. Bookmark the permalink. ← Figure it out! […]


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