"Mother to Son" is a poem by Langston Hughes. My bet is, it is frequently studied in elementary schools since its "meaning" and its metaphor are so simple and clear. Hughes spells it all out for the reader, tacks, splinters, and all.
Mother to SonYale University has scads of a/v format material with Hughes performing his poetry, including "Mother to Son." Click here.
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.
In this New Year, keep climbin', all you poetry-lovin' honeys! Take the stairs to
Live! Love! Explore! with Irene Latham, where you'll find this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up.
Photo by scottnj