Yes, Langston Hughes was a prolific writer. In the forty-odd years between his first book in 1926 and his death.He received a scholarship to Lincoln University (in Pennsylvania). In 1923, he traveled to the Africa, visiting Senegal and Nigeria, the Cameroons, Belgium Congo and Angola, and later visiting Europe (Italy and France, Russia and Spain). One of Hughes’ finest essays appeared in the Nation in 1926, entitled “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain”. He attended Central High School in Cleveland (Ohio), but began writing poetry in the eighth grade, and was selected as Class Poet. He died on May 22, 1967 giving us something special: Five Plays, The Panther and The Lash (Poems of Our Times), Good Morning Revolution (Uncollected Writings of Social Protest), and The Sweet Flypaper of Life with Roy De Carava.
DREAM VARIATIONS – To fling my arms wide, in some place of the sun. To whirl and to dance, till the white day is done. Then rest at cool evening, beneath a tall tree, while night comes on gently, dark like me. That is my dream! To fling my arms wide, in the face of the sun. Dance! Whirl! Whirl! Till the quick day is done. Rest at pale evening. A tall, slim tree. Night coming tenderly, black like me.
LIFE IS FINE – I went down to the river, I set down on the bank. I tried to think but couldn’t, So I jumped in and sank. I came up once and hollered! I came up twice and cried! If that water hadn’t a-been so cold, I might’ve sunk and died. But it was cold in that water! It was cold! I took the elevator, sixteen floors above the ground. I thought about my baby, and thought I would jump down. I stood there and I hollered! I stood there and I cried! If it hadn’t a-been so high, I might’ve jumped and died. But it was high up there! It was high! So since I’m still here livin’, I guess I will live on. I could’ve died for love, but for livin’ I was born. Though you may hear me holler, and you may see me cry. I’ll be dogged, sweet baby, ff you gonna see me die. Life is fine! Fine as wine! Life is fine!
QUIET GIRL – I would liken you, to a night without stars were it not for your eyes. I would liken you, to a sleep without dreams were it not for your songs.