Trumpet Player – Langston Hughes

The NegroWith the trumpet at his lips

Has dark moons of weariness

Beneath his eyes

where the smoldering memory

of slave ships

Blazed to the crack of whips

about thighs
The negro

with the trumpet at his lips

has a head of vibrant hair

tamed down,

patent-leathered now

until it gleams

like jet-

were jet a crown
the music

from the trumpet at his lips

is honey

mixed with liquid fire

the rhythm

from the trumpet at his lips

is ecstasy

distilled from old desire-
Desire

that is longing for the moon

where the moonlight’s but a spotlight

in his eyes,

desire

that is longing for the sea

where the sea’s a bar-glass

sucker size
The Negro

with the trumpet at his lips

whose jacket

Has a fine one-button roll,

does not know

upon what riff the music slips
It’s hypodermic needle

to his soul

but softly

as the tune comes from his throat

trouble

mellows to a golden note 

When Sue Wears Red – Langston Hughes 

When Susanna Jones wears red

her face is like an ancient cameo

Turned brown by the ages.

Come with a blast of trumphets, Jesus!

When Susanna Jones wears red

A queen from some time-dead Egyptian night

Walks once again.

Blow trumphets, Jesus!

And the beauty of Susanna Jones in red

Burns in my heart a love-fire sharp like a pain.

Sweet silver trumphets, Jesus! 

Will V – Day Be Me – Day Too – Langston Hughes

Over There,World War II.
Dear Fellow Americans,

I write this letter

Hoping times will be better

When this war

Is through.

I’m a Tan-skinned Yank

Driving a tank.

I ask, WILL V-DAY

BE ME-DAY, TOO?
I wear a U. S. uniform.

I’ve done the enemy much harm,

I’ve driven back

The Germans and the Japs,

From Burma to the Rhine.

On every battle line,

I’ve dropped defeat

Into the Fascists’ laps.
I am a Negro American

Out to defend my land

Army, Navy, Air Corps–

I am there.

I take munitions through,

I fight–or stevedore, too.

I face death the same as you do 

Everywhere.
I’ve seen my buddy lying

Where he fell.

I’ve watched him dying

I promised him that I would try

To make our land a land

Where his son could be a man–

And there’d be no Jim Crow birds

Left in our sky.
So this is what I want to know:

When we see Victory’s glow,

Will you still let old Jim Crow

Hold me back?

When all those foreign folks who’ve waited–

Italians, Chinese, Danes–are liberated.

Will I still be ill-fated

Because I’m black?
Here in my own, my native land,

Will the Jim Crow laws still stand?

Will Dixie lynch me still

When I return?

Or will you comrades in arms

From the factories and the farms,

Have learned what this war

Was fought for us to learn?
When I take off my uniform,

Will I be safe from harm–

Or will you do me

As the Germans did the Jews?

When I’ve helped this world to save,

Shall I still be color’s slave?

Or will Victory change

Your antiquated views?
You can’t say I didn’t fight

To smash the Fascists’ might.

You can’t say I wasn’t with you

in each battle.

As a soldier, and a friend.

When this war comes to an end,

Will you herd me in a Jim Crow car

Like cattle?
Or will you stand up like a man

At home and take your stand

For Democracy?

That’s all I ask of you.

When we lay the guns away

To celebrate

Our Victory Day

WILL V-DAY BE ME-DAY, TOO?

That’s what I want to know.
Sincerely,

GI Joe. 

Poem – Democracy – Langston Hughes

Democracy will not come 

Today, this year 

Nor ever 

Through compromise and fear. 
I have as much right 

As the other fellow has 

To stand 

On my two feet 

And own the land. 
I tire so of hearing people say, 

Let things take their course. 

Tomorrow is another day. 

I do not need my freedom when I’m dead. 

I cannot live on tomorrow’s bread. 
Freedom 

Is a strong seed 

Planted 

In a great need. 
I live here, too. 

I want freedom 

Just as you.

English Poem – As I Grew Old – Langston Hughes

It was a long time ago.
I have almost forgotten my dream.
But it was there then,
In front of me,
Bright like a sun—
My dream.
And then the wall rose,
Rose slowly,
Slowly,
Between me and my dream.
Rose until it touched the sky—
The wall.
Shadow.
I am black.
I lie down in the shadow.
No longer the light of my dream before me,
Above me.
Only the thick wall.
Only the shadow.
My hands!
My dark hands!
Break through the wall!
Find my dream!
Help me to shatter this darkness,
To smash this night,
To break this shadow
Into a thousand lights of sun,
Into a thousand whirling dreams
Of sun!
Langston Hughes

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