(Langston Hughes 1902-1967)
Langston Hughes and Barack Obama
Let's lay down some lines for Langston Hughes
this day of news: 20 January 2009. A fine
piece of the dream's no longer deferred, though
the thought's occurred that Mr. Hughes
might focus on the people out of work or,
working, out of money. (Remember:
he gave even Roosevelt what-for.) Still I see
him in a Harlem bar, sitting next to
Jesse B., speaking in his clipped
Midwest English, having sipped
something fortified, brown eyes bright and wide.
He'd be smoking if they'd let him, saying
or thinking, "Lord, a day has come I never even
dreamed to dream in 1921." He'd go back
to the brownstone with its small garden
in front, sit down, and write a simple, profound
lyric capturing the spirit of President Obama's day.
Cross the Jordan, cross the Nile, cross the Congo--
and that Ocean, too. Cross the Harlem and
the Hudson Rivers. Cross the Mississsipi. Dear
Madame Johnson: Mr. Obama crossed the Potomac.
That's a fact, no not some dream. Think
of Mr. Hughes's rivers. The soul shivers.
Copyright 2009 Hans Ostrom