Wednesday, February 04, 2009

We Couldn't Avoid Thinking About
This Fine Langston Hughes Poem
As Obama Took the Oath of Office

I, too, sing America.
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.
Tomorrow,
I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"
Then.
Besides,
They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--
I, too, am America.


You can learn more about the late poet and onetime Clevelander here. We were surprised to notice that the otherwise exhaustive Cleveland Encylopedia of History has no entry on him.

6 Comments:

At 10:19 AM, Blogger Full Soul Ahead! said...

It's a beautiful, poignant poem.

 
At 10:31 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

It really is something special, isn't it, Michelle? Only that much cooler that it has a small Cleveland connection.

 
At 9:57 PM, Blogger Diane Vogel Ferri said...

How timely. I 've never read that one.

 
At 10:06 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

And speaking of timeliness, Diane, I just popped my $11 into the mail to you only this morning. Can't wait to read your new poetry collection, Liquid Rubies. It should be quite a treat. Congratulations on its publication.

 
At 10:13 PM, Blogger Geoff Schutt said...

John -- Thank you for posting this.

We need the poets now more than ever -- our beloved poets who have passed on, and our beloved living poets, who write the words for the next generation and beyond.

 
At 10:33 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Well said, Geoff. Your words reminded me of the old saying about how literature is news that remains news even after many years have elapsed. That poem certainly evokes that feeling for me.

 

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