February is the month that Canadians celebrate Black History. One of my favourite poets is Langston Hughes, who was first acknowledged as a significant literary figure in the 1920’s, during the Harlem Renaissance period. He was only in his twenties. His wrote about difficult times, yet his was a voice of profound optimism and unwavering character. This poem is universal. All mothers want their sons to know that they are “still climbin.”
Mother to Son
By Langston Hughes
Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
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.