Yesterday was Langston Hughes‘ birthday; he would have been 113 years old. Did you see the Google Doodle that was made in honor of him? If you don’t have the time to watch it, here’s the poem featured in it.
I Dream a World
By Langston Hughes
I dream a world where man
No other man will scorn,
Where love will bless the earth
And peace its paths adorn
I dream a world where all
Will know sweet freedom’s way,
Where greed no longer saps the soul
Nor avarice blights our day.
A world I dream where black or white,
Whatever race you be,
Will share the bounties of the earth
And every man is free,
Where wretchedness will hang its head
And joy, like a pearl,
Attends the needs of all mankind-
Of such a dream, my world!
I wonder, have we obtained the world he dreamed of?
Hughes was a part of the Jazz Poetry era–it’s hard not to feel the rhythm in this one poem while imagining it being set to music. That’s something that I would like to be able to do with my poetry someday. But I’ve never been good at rhythm.
Honestly, what I’d really like to be able to do is achieve the timelessness that Hughes created in this one poem. These 16 lines have both a power and a very real presence in our world today, over 40 years after his passing. All of us become memories, but some memories last longer…
It’s my work more than my name that I’m concerned with though. If I could write something that helps just one person, something that they remember and share with others, my ultimate writing goal would be fulfilled.
Happy Birthday, Mr. Hughes!
Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination, never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
Believe it or not, I didn’t intentionally pick another Lord Chesterfield quote! I actually didn’t even realize that it was until I was glancing back at last week’s quote to see how I had formatted the post.
The reason I picked this quote is because it really applies to how I should be looking at life. This past year, I’ve discovered the art of laziness and I’ve been working on slapping myself out of it. Hopefully, this adventure away from laziness with continue on into the next year.
This quote also has a lot to do with writing. You have to “snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment” of writing that you’re able to get your hands on because sometimes a few moments might be all you get in day to let your creativity flow.
And when you do get your hands on it, you need to dig in with all of your focus.
I.e. it probably isn’t the best idea to write while watching Guy Fieri‘s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Which is not what I am currently doing. At all.
Frank, Leonard Roy. Random House Webster’s Quotationary. New York: Random House, 1999. Print.
As I mentioned Tuesday, I’m going to try to make some writing goals/resolutions for 2014. Said post wound up being me rambling, so I didn’t actually have to worry about today’s post mimicking it. And, by the way, Happy New Year!
2014 Writing Goals and Resolutions
I’m going to try my best to
- write every day
- continue blogging every Monday-Friday
- read at least a page of something every day
- finish the novel I started in November 2013
- write one short story every month
- write one poem every day, or at least every week
- write in my journal every day
- submit to at least five places every month