Poetry Friday:“Crossing Jordan” by Langston Hughes

Poetry Friday is hosted by  Jan at Bookseedstudio

Every new day reveals what many of us, the majority of us, knew all along. The man elected to the highest office in our land is a racist.  Thursday’s news about his views regarding the people of Haiti and Africa, as far as I am concerned, was just more proof…if more proof were indeed necessary.

As a citizen of this great country, I am embarrassed and ashamed.  As an educator, I am simply sad.  I teach American history, I cover the founding of America from the early days of revolutionary talk to the seeds of Civil War.  Every day, we examine these founding ideals: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” And every day we discuss the events in our history, from its earliest days through national crisis after national crisis, and the way in which we have had to struggle to find “the better angels of our nature”.

It is so very sad for my students, who have grown up with President Obama in the Oval Office, to be living through a time in which racism, sexism, and every other type of vile -ism, lives openly in the White House.

On the eve of celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and work, on the eve of Black History month, I have to return to the voice of Langston Hughes.  Thanks to the vile man in the Oval Office, these are lonely days for many, folks…

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“Crossing Jordan” by Langston Hughes

It was that lonely day, folks,
When I walked by myself.
My friends was all around me
But it was just as if they’d left
I went up on a mountain
In a high cold wind
And the coat that I was wearing
Was mosquito-net thin.
Then I went down in the valley
And I crossed an icy stream
And the water I was crossing,
Was no water in a dream,
And the shoes that I was wearing
No protection for that stream.
Then I stood out on a prairie
And as far as I could see
Wasn’t nobody on that prairie
That looked like me—
Cause it was that lonely day, folks,
When I walked all by myself
And my friends was right there with me
But was just as if they’d left.
Crossing Jordan! Crossing Jordan!
Alone and by myself.

– Langston Hughes, 1941

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7 thoughts on “Poetry Friday:“Crossing Jordan” by Langston Hughes

  1. It is another sad day, and I wish you the best wishes for your challenges as a teacher. Don’t be lonely. I’m standing right by you!

  2. What a sad, sad state of affairs. Let’s not lose hope, though. We have faced down dark times before, and we will emerge from these, we just have to. We’re so lucky to have teachers like you to inspire our young people not to give up, and to continue to share their love and truth with the world.

  3. What a courageous post, dear Tara. I share your pain and your thoughts. I experience this sense of embarrassment, anger, and befuddlement on a daily basis with our own Philippine President. May 2018 be a year of courage and non-equivocation when it comes to things that truly matter. EducatorsRising in 2018. 🙂

  4. I felt the same about our prior president; Obama was so divisive and racist but used subterfuge to keep everyone down. I’m not a fan of the current administration’s lack of diplomacy but appreciate his open dialogue.Describing a place in unkind terms does not reflect on one’s belief about it’s citizens. I used to live in Harlem in the 70s. It was a s—hole, scary place — full of great people. It’s not easy to find the truth – our news outlets are either right or left – none seem to even feign to be objective.

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