MOTHER TO SON

Hughes photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1936

Langston Hughes wrote the following poem. We offer it to you for the New Year. Our children learn from our example. As my dad used to say, “When you’re a parent, there is no quit.”

Well, son, I’ll tell you:

Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

It’s had tacks in it,

And splinters,

And boards torn up,

And places with no carpet on the floor —

Bare.

But all the time

I’se been a-climbin’ on,

And reachin’ landin’s,

And turnin’ corners,

And sometimes goin’ in the dark

Where there ain’t been no light.

So boy, don’t you turn back.

Don’t you set down on the steps

‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.

Don’t you fall now —

For I’se still goin’, honey,

I’se still climbin’,

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

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Rickie
Rickie
10 years ago

GREAT POEM…but what really hit home were the words ““When you’re a parent, there is no quit.”

Barbara
Barbara
10 years ago

I also liked the words “when you’re a parent, there is no quit” How true this is.

Libby, thank you for publishing this poem. Life isn’t a crystal chair for anyone. Very inspiring!!

Libby
Libby
10 years ago

Thanks, Rickie and Barbara. My dad was full of wisdom. He died in 2004 and his words are still with me. I used to ask him when I could quit worrying about Jeff, when I could just stop. I used to say, “Where’s the finish line, Dad. When can I draw a line in the sand and say, ‘I’ve done all I can do?'” He’d give me that father look and tell me these words. He was that kind of guy – he was a former Marine and for him the word ‘quit’ wasn’t in his dictionary. Love to you both.