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.
Langston Hughes, born in 1902 in Joplin, Missouri, was a poet, novelist, playwright, columnist and social activist who, among so much more, sought to depict and raise awareness of the lives of working class blacks as in this poem of resilience – something people of all colors need to find within themselves if they are going to make it to old age.
Hughes died in 1967 and is buried at the Arthur Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem where a long time ago, the good folks there helped me with answers to some research questions I couldn't find anywhere else.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Dorothy Moffitt: Washing Day the Old Way