Poetry Friday: Langston Hughes

Poetry Friday, Scheiss Weekly, Jane Goodwin Mamacita says:  I first heard this poem in high school literature. Tenth grade, sophomore year, in Mrs. Helen Chandler’s class, she who taught Claude Akins, the Bedford Celebrity..

In retrospect, I know that we treated her dreadfully. She was quite elderly by the time my class came along, and had taught pretty much everybody in town. In her day, she was sharp, witty, and an excellent, highly respected teacher. In my day, she was partially blind, hard of hearing, and tired. I don’t think she comprehended half of what was done to her that year, and that is a good thing. A very good thing indeed.

The problem with retrospect is that more often than not, we see that instead of being the cool young rebels we thought we were, we see the truth: in this case, we were a classroom full of smartasses. Smartasses with a mean streak. I was an observer, not an instigator, but I laughed all the same.

Every snowflake in an avalanche pleads not guilty. — Stanislaw J. Lec

I still remember all the wonderful poems she made us memorize, though. And now, I’m so glad she did that. I know some people don’t believe memorization is necessary any more, but they are wrong. WRONG.

Christmas isn’t necessary either, but isn’t it a delight, and aren’t we glad we have it?  I rest my case.

In my head, I’ve got thousands of poems, stories, and even whole novels. I can close my eyes and read off my mind. Who needs books or electronics when you’ve had Mrs. Chandler?

I still remember the dancing, flying, screaming meltdown she gifted us with when she finally noticed the Playboy centerfold taped to her calendar, though. . . .



Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.
~Langston Hughes

And, yes.  The poet speaks truth.

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