Poems by Langston Hughes and Claude McKay

Here are also two Langston Hughes poems and a Claude McKay poem that I think you might find very interesting since they tie right into some of the themes from the lecture. Claude McKay is also a poet widely associated with the Harlem Renaissance. Please consider the poems when posting your replies. What do you think of the content and themes? How do you perceive the message and overall tone? What kind of impression did the text leave on you? Can you relate to the content?

Langston Hughes – Harlem
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?
  
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 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.
 
  Claude McKaye – America
Although she feeds me bread of bitterness,
And sinks into my throat her tiger”s tooth,
Stealing my breath of life, I will confess
I love this cultured hell that tests my youth!
Her vigor flows like tides into my blood,
Giving me strength erect against her hate.
Her bigness sweeps my being like a flood.
Yet as a rebel fronts a king in state,
I stand within her walls with not a shred
Of terror, malice, not a word of jeer.
Darkly I gaze into the days ahead,
And see her might and granite wonders there,
Beneath the touch of Time’s unerring hand,
Like priceless treasures sinking in the sand.

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