Month: June 2020

A Variation on Mother to Son (by Langston Hughes) In Times of 2020 Protest

Well, son, I’ll tell you:

Well, sun, sigh…

Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

The crystal stairs in my life are now concrete.

It’s had tacks in it,

With cracks in it,

And splinters,

And weeds,

And boards torn up,

And thorns disguised as buds

And places with no carpet on the floor—

And places where no grass grows in the garden



But all the time

But all the time

I’se been a-climbin’ on,

I tend to it,

And reachin’ landin’s,

And dig, and pluck,

And turnin’ corners,

And turn the soil to expose hidden roots that creep

And sometimes goin’ in the dark

And sometimes imitating “good things” in the dark

Where there ain’t been no light.

Where cover turns things white ‘cause there ain’t been no light

No enLIGHTenment

No LIGHT cast on the goodness

No healing from your BRILLIANCE

So boy, don’t you turn back.

So manchild, don’t you stop marching

The promised land is ours to be occupied

Even though I fear for your safety


Knowing that no education of your mind or body in this system

Will protect you from her [false] allegations

Will keep you from his rage or fragility

Will minimize your threat to the weak…because you are strong

Don’t you set down on the steps

Please, sit down

On those and in dem streets

Kneel down

Set your burdens down

On the steps that are at the courthouse if you are tired, needing rest,

Take pause and make space

BUT don’t give up

’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.

Cause you find it’s kinda hard

Don’t you fall now—

When you stumble, allow yourself to fall and get back up again

Like that old gospel song says

It is a source of your joy, our joy, my joy, Black joy…the memories in the car, singing…

But God is the source of your strength and

For I’se still goin’, honey,

I’m still goin’ son,

I’se still climbin’,

I’m still climbin’

Even when they don’t really see me

YOU give me courage

And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

Did you see this Titus Kaphar cover in Time this week, son? You, my artist, my creative, my gift from God, my sun…being Black and blue…is less than I am, we are…we are Black joy. With eyes closed I carry you, I feel you, I love you more than my sadness mourns you.