The Constant, Wearying Assault on Elders


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 splinters,
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


Wonderful & powerful poetry! And what a smile. Thanks for brightening my day. Dee

Oh, that's what made him and his words so special, he got it all right.

Langston Hughes is one of my favorite poets and this is prolly my favorites!


Langston Hughes' poem "A Dream Deferred" has inspired me or, when needed, given me a kick-in-the-rear...

"What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?..."

Thank you! I've listened to Ruby Dee read this jewel. Your calling out the Schomburg Center prompted me to plan on a visit there when I am in the area, at the Jewish Theological Seminary, in early May. I usually combine the visit with one to Riverside Church; this time, the Schomburg Center. Ronni: uber tour guide for all manner of trips;-)

Somewhere in the dim recesses of my mind I think I remember a movie titled "A Raisin In the Sun". It must have come from the Langston Hughes poem that SusanG's mentioned.

Mr. Hughes was very wise and gifted.

That is one of my favorite Langston Hughes poems.
Back in 1972 when I was teaching first grade in the Bronx I had the pleasure of teaching Mr Hughes' great grandaughter, Linda. Her older brother,Adam was even more handsome than his great grandfather.

I love this poem and will keep it close by. Thank you, Ronni.

Thanks for this. Gave me a silent push to words from another African American poet.

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