|A draft of Hughes's "Old Walt"|
GOOD MORNING Good morning, daddy! I was born here, he said. watched Harlem grow until colored folks spread from river to river across the middle of Manhattan out of Penn Station dark tenth of a nation, planes from Puerto Rico, and holds of boats, chico, up from Cuba Haiti Jamaica, in buses marked New York from Georgia Florida Louisiana to Harlem Brooklyn the Bronx but most of all to Harlem dusky sash acros Manhattan I've seen them come dark wondering wide-eyed dreaming out of Penn Station-- but the trains are late. The gates open-- Yet there're bars at each gate. What happens to a dream deferred? Daddy, ain't you heard? ***
HARLEM What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore-- And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode?
Both poems © Copyright, Estate of Langston Hughes, 1951, 2011. All rights reserved.