Monday, February 14, 2011


Black. Love. Literature.

I am a hopeful romantic. And those around me may not even know this.

I chose this poem to share this Valentine's Day during this month of black history, because it brings two things--well three things--together that I just love--literature, black culture, Black love literature. All literature is a work of love. All good literature, that is. Only those who've experienced the pain and addiction of love can write poetry that speaks to every human heart the way this special piece speaks to mine. I could hear my William saying this to me. I feel this way in my heart toward him. I am Lucinda, and I am the poet. How long did it take Langston Hughes to form these few words that weigh so heavily in my chest? How many arguments and make-ups with "Lucinda" helped him define his heart? Do these words say it all? What was his first draft? And when did he feel that it was just right? That it was good enough to give to us to help us articulate this complex emotion beating in our hearts? Maybe a lump formed in his throat or tears seeped into his eyes and down his cheek when the right words appeared on the paper. I can hear him saying, "Ah, yes, this is it."

How do you know when your words are just right enough to sing into someone else's heart?

Love Song for Lucinda
By Langston Hughes

Is a ripe plum
Growing on a purple tree.
Taste it once
And the spell of its enchantment
Will never let you be.

Is a bright star
Glowing in far Southern skies.
Look too hard
And its burning flame
Will always hurt your eyes.

Is a high mountain
Stark in a windy sky.
If you
Would never lose your breath
Do not climb too high.


Langston Hughes* (February 1, 1902 – May 22, 1967) was an American novelist, playwright, short story writer, and columnist. He was one of the earliest innovators of the new literary art form jazz poetry. Hughes is best-known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, alongside those of his contemporaries, Zora Neale HurstonWallace ThurmanClaude McKayCountee CullenRichard Bruce Nugent, and Aaron Douglas.

He stressed the theme of "black is beautiful" as he explored the black human condition in a variety of depths.[33] His main concern was the uplift of his people, whose strengths, resiliency, courage, and humor he wanted to record as part of the general American experience.[13][34] His poetry and fiction portrayed the lives of the working class blacks in America, lives he portrayed as full of struggle, joy, laughter, and music.

*Brief bio of Langston Hughes from "Langston Hughes," Wikipedia, (accessed February, 14, 2011).
Post a Comment