10.14.2016

I Too

Earlier this month I wrote about the African-American poetry book I was reading with Asher for bedtime stories.  I could not help but citing another work in this space, which is "I Too" by Langston Hughes. It is able to evoke, somehow, simultaneous feelings of beautiful hopefulness and bitter shame.  Such is a good poem.

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

Tomorrow,
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
Then.

Besides,
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.
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