Can I poet with you? Langston Hughes 1

One of the poets I love the most is Langston Hughes.  I read his book, The Sweet Flypaper of Life,  when I was in high school.  IIt photos of the view from a Harlem woman’s window by Roy Decarava.  It was the first book I remember with photos of a family that I recognized.

At the end of the book, as I remember, it said something like, if you like this book, you’ll also like these titles.  Thus began my journey to inhale everything I could written by and about Black people.  I still read books by whites who were the sole provenance of literature for me previously.  I grew to become a reader of international literature.  Still there was a period of some 20 years where I drank from the well of Black authors, finding sustenance there and a recognition that I hadn’t realized had been lacking until I found it.

I have many favorite poems written by the honorable Langston Hughes. (I also loved his Jesse B. Semple stories, Not Without Laughter, a novel, and I Wonder as I Wander, a memoir.)  Following are snippets..

Dream Variations

To fling my arms widelangston hughes

In some place of the sun,

To whirl and to dance

Till the white day is done.

Then rest at cool evening

Beneath a tall tree

While night comes on gently,

Dark like me-

That is my dream!


To fling my arms wide

In the face of the sun,

Dance! Whirl! Whirl!

Till the quick day is done.

Rest at pale evening…

A tall, slim tree…

Night coming tenderly

Black like me.


Final Curve

When you turn the corner

And you run into yourself

Then you know that you have turned

All the corners that are left.


Tell Me

Why should it be my loneliness,

Why should it be my song,

Why should it be my dream





Folks, I’m telling you,

birthing is hard

and dying is mean—

So get yourself

a little loving

in between.


This advice is a good place to end.  We’ll revisit Mr. Hughes before this poetry month is completed.




About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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One thought on “Can I poet with you? Langston Hughes


    Thank you for bringing Langston Hughes back to mind, where he belongs.

    Equally as remarkable as his body of work, I believe, were his early experiences and the travel that shaped him.