A Call to Lament and Hope Again
Langston Hughes’ poem, “Harlem,” probably captures the moment, and the predicament of human existence in America and in the world. The message and rhetoric of the poem makes a strong case for lament and mourning, and human solidarity. In the second poem, “Our Land,” the poet inspires hope in the future, and believes in the promise of human solidarity. It is also a call to do life together, to hope again, and to live together in this broken world.
“Harlem” by Langston Hughes
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
“Our Land” by Langston Hughes
We should have a land of sun,
Of gorgeous sun,
And a land of fragrant water
Where the twilight
Is a soft bandanna handkerchief
Of rose and gold,
And not this land where life is cold.
We should have a land of trees,
Of tall thick trees
Bowed down with chattering parrots
Brilliant as the day,
And not this land where birds are grey.
Ah, we should have a land of joy,
Of love and joy and wine and song,
And not this land where joy is wrong.
Oh, sweet away!
Ah, my beloved one, away!