I turn today to the words of Langston Hughes. His words are always fresh, provocative, and inspiring. We cannot be the same person we were before, once we allow his words to enter into our heart and soul. I offer just a few verses from his poem Let America Be America Again. He never did give up on the dream of what this place might become. Shame on us for even thinking of giving up these past months or recent years. Pause and ponder and please pray. The following link will take you to the full poem.
Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.
(America never was America to me.)
Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.
(It never was America to me.)
O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.
(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)
Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?
I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak
O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.
Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
I offer to you a
confession this day
for all the sins of myself and my genreation
and the genreations before me.
Forgive our selfish ways,
forgive our bending of the truth
as we turn it into a lie.
Forgive our hoarding and stealing
our neighbors right to be.
Infuse us with a light that comes
from You, O Light of the World.
Lead us into a new way,
You who are The Way.
And show us the truth
O You who are The Truth.
Grant us all a new life,
You who are The Life. Amen.
2 thoughts on “Let America Be America Again”
Do you remember Paul Simon’s great song, American Tune? I have thought of those lyrics countless times over the past year and a half. And every time I wonder what’s gone wrong with America, the answers seem far too easy. We need only to look around our cities and rural communities, to watch the nightly news, and to listen to the selfish masses. We are literally and figuratively an ailing America and apparently with far too little desire for healing. I find some comfort knowing that there are those who try to make it better and continue to work for the common good. If only they were allowed to do their work uninterrupted…
Thanks, Edward, as always.
I really appreciate this poem. Langston Hughes is a new port to me; this poem appreciates the essence of the American dream. We life in a day where dreams are needed. Thanks for your prayer Edward of “general confession”. it’s personal too, yes, a moment to pause and reflect blessings Eric