"Mother to Son"
by Langston Hughes
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.
"Fire and Sleet and Candlelight" by ELINOR MORTON WYLIE For this you’ve striven Daring, to fail: Your sky is riven Like a tearing veil. For this, you’ve wasted Wings of your youth; Divined, and tasted Bitter springs of truth. From sand unslakèd Twisted strong cords, And wandered naked Among trysted swords. There’s a word unspoken, A knot untied. Whatever is broken The earth may hide. The road was jagged Over sharp stones: Your body’s too ragged To cover your bones. The wind scatters Tears upon dust; Your soul’s in tatters Where the spears thrust. Your race is ended— See, it is run: Nothing is mended Under the sun. Straight as an arrow You fall to a sleep Not too narrow And not too deep.
"Bells in the Rain" by Elinor Wylie Sleep falls, with limpid drops of rain, Upon the steep cliffs of the town. Sleep falls; men are at peace again While the small drops fall softly down. The bright drops ring like bells of glass Thinned by the wind; and lightly blown; Sleep cannot fall on peaceful grass So softly as it falls on stone. Peace falls unheeded on the dead Asleep; they have had deep peace to drink; Upon a live man’s bloody head It falls most tenderly, I think.
"The Head" by Blaise Cendrars The guillotine is the masterpiece of plastic art Its click Creates perpetual motion Everyone knows about Christopher Columbus’ egg Which was a flat egg, a fixed egg, the egg of an inventor Archipenko’s sculpture is the first ovoidal egg Held in intense equilibrium Like an immobile top On its animated point Speed It throws off Multicolored waves Color zones And turns in depth Nude. New. Total.
You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I’ll rise. Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? ‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells Pumping in my living room. Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I’ll rise. Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling down like teardrops, Weakened by my soulful cries? Does my haughtiness offend you? Don’t you take it awful hard ‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines Diggin’ in my own backyard. You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I’ll rise. Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise That I dance like I’ve got diamonds At the meeting of my thighs? Out of the huts of history’s shame I rise Up from a past that’s rooted in pain I rise I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide, Welling and swelling I bear in the tide. Leaving behind nights of terror and fear I rise Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear I rise Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise I rise I rise.
Sometimes the mist overhangs my path,
And blackening clouds about me cling;
But, oh, I have a magic way
To turn the gloom to cheerful day—
I softly sing.
And if the way grows darker still,
Shadowed by Sorrow’s somber wing,
With glad defiance in my throat,
I pierce the darkness with a note,
And sing, and sing.
I brood not over the broken past,
Nor dread whatever time may bring;
No nights are dark, no days are long,
While in my heart there swells a song,
And I can sing.
Hay un arco tendido
que hace viajar la flecha
de tu voz.
When the sun shouts and people abound
One thinks there were the ages of stone and the age of
I cried over beautiful things knowing no beautiful thing lasts. The field of cornflower yellow is a scarf at the neck of the copper sunburned woman, the mother of the year, the taker of seeds. The northwest wind comes and the yellow is torn full of holes, new beautiful things come in the first spit of snow on the northwest wind, and the old things go, not one lasts.