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Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Barack Obama and Langston Hughes: Two Patriotic Poems

"Bobby Kennedy, 1968: "Things are moving so fast in race relations a Negro could be president in 40 years. There's no question about it. In the next 40 years, a Negro can achieve the same position that my brother had. Prejudice exists and will continue to, but we have tried to make progress, and we are making progress. We are not going to accept the status quo."
--Robert Kennedy Jr., 1968

I, Too, Sing America

by Langston Hughes

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 sit 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.

----------------------

Let America Be America Again

by Langston Hughes

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home--
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
To build a "homeland of the free."

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay--
Except the dream that's almost dead today.

O, let America be America again--
The land that never has been yet--
And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME--
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!

15 comments:

Christopher said...

I am nervous down to the depth of my soul over this election.

If Barack isn't elected and he's defeated by the Old Coot, I just don't know what I will do -- how I will cope or if I can cope.

This is the most important election of my lifetime.

Anonymous said...

I'm nervous but for a different reason. I'm afraid they'll try to do something terrible to him before the election.

Anonymous said...

that prescient quote from Bobby Kennedy sends chills down my spine! We who want and need this election so much are all nervous...afraid it will slip away... that we'll be cheated out of our "last hope". When I feel that way, I just tune in and give Obama another listen and my hope is restored. I marvel at his incredible organization and steadfast almost 24 month campaign, and my hope is restored. I'm guessing he'll SOAR with this 30 minute infomercial tonite.

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

yes dont know who says it better LH of Mr Dunbar - i wanna see the book of poems folk

Somebodies Friend said...

I refuse to let fear overtake me in the great time, the time this country finally becomes what it was founded upon, like the poem said,

the land of the free,
the poor man
the Indian
the Negro
ME!

I love both of these poems, they are so true to the times, and they radiate hope for all that have felt hopeless, and that would include ME!

Thanks McDaddy, I know you have posted these before, but they are just what I needed today, I was feeling a little sorry for myself this morning.

I don't know what it is, I get that way for about 15 minutes almost every morning and then I ask God for his guidance and care, then the pain is usually lifted right then and stays away for the rest of the day.

God will take care of my problems, as long as I am willing to humble myself, ask for guidance and listen to what he has to say back.

MacDaddy said...

christopher: You speak the feelings of many. I know the things you need to do to be less nervous, but it's easier said than done. Here are a few things I've done:
1-Watched less news, except for McNeil Lahrer, Keith Olberman
2-End the night either listening to soothing music like cool jazz or a good video (I prefer old movies).
3. Do something physical. Take a walk. Go swimming. Work out. I'e found that taking a walk before bedtime really helps me to sleep well.
4. Take a bath or shower just before bedtime.

I'm sure you could make you own list. This is what I do.

anonymous: Fear has been a constant in black life: either fear for ourselves or for others. But, as you know, we can't let that keep us from moving forward. You know that. Stay strong.

somebodiesfriend: We all have things that get in our way. But I'm so glad to hear that you have your faith and that you know that, in a little while, you'll be alright. You're blessed.

MacDaddy said...

torrance: Thanks. I'll be posting other patriotic poetry. But you're right: Langston and Dunbar said it best. I'll be posting Dunbar and Mckay next, I think.

sdg1844 said...

Thanks for the poems and comments from RFK. There is a dejavu nature to history that hs been on my mind so much lately.

As far as I am concerned, there is no other option than Sen. Obama. We can not fail.

Christopher said...

Daddy,

Those are splendid ideas.

I need to lay down on the bed with some smooth Jazz playing softly and get a full head to toe massage.

The stress would just evaporate into the ether!

rainywalker said...

"The land that never has been yet-"
Powerful words from a man who can look forward and backward in time and see the possibilities.

Somebodies Friend said...

McDaddy,

Whenever I try to link to anything on your sidebar that you posted the other day, Articles, poetry, music, blogger redirects me to their log-in page and then it won't even let me log in.

Just thought I'd let you know the links don't work in case you didn't know.

MacDaddy said...

somebodiesfriend: Thanks for letting me know. If I can't fix it, then, instead of linking someone, I'll just provide the entire article. That way, you want have to worry about it. Thanks again.

Somebodies Friend said...

btw McDaddy,

Thanks for the kind words of encouragement regarding my post earlier today.

I have been frustrated lately, I have been job hunting and every time I think that job is going to materialize, the rug has been pulled out from under me.

I have been wondering if all that I have been hoping for might just be a dream that isn't real, sometimes when I spend to much time concentrating on one thing I start feeling lost and disorientated.

I changed up my routine today and spend ore time around other people. It is exactly what I needed, When I ask God what he wanted of me today, I think it was his way of answering, I spent the whole evening talking with others, and helping them the best I can.

And I feel good because of the actions.

LISA VAZQUEZ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

Hello there!!

I love that line "...I am the darker brother..."!

I can't even put into words how deeply that poem resonates in my inner core. Langston gives me fever....

Thank you, Daddy.

{smooches}
Lisa