“I, too, sing America.”
Two weeks ago I put up my new poetry page in addition to my blog posts, and this week I decided to do something special: This week I am combining them into one.
Last Saturday and Sunday, I’m sure you heard all about the Women’s March no matter where you are in the world— voices could be heard across the globe, from here in SLO to Amsterdam. Whether they were protesting for individual rights,
against our new President, or something entirely different, their words all came from the same place.
They came from the idea that this is something worth fighting for.
No matter what your political views are or how you feel about America right now, you have to admit, there is something beautiful about people from all walks of life coming together to advocate for something they believe in. In watching the news, scrolling through photos, and listening to professors mention the events in class, it brought me back to a poem I read a few weeks back that made me think about who America really is. Through the Poem a day email signup on Academy of American Poets, I came across Langston Hughes’s poem I, Too.
In the face of adversity, voices tend to rise, and I love what Hughes has to say below. Throughout the poem, we see a contrast between where those represented are to where they know
they will be in time. It’s the belief that things will change, the fight for a better stance, and a sense of belonging they deserve to find… It’s part of what makes us human.
The need to fight for what we believe we deserve.
Not only does he say he will “grow strong”, but soon enough “They’ll see how beautiful I am And be ashamed”.
That is the goal isn’t it? To become something better, something stronger— someone who holds the beauty others are ashamed they couldn’t see until it was too late. Because the truth is what people are fighting for, whether it is wholly universal or simply personal. What is true to us means something in our hearts and that is always worth fighting for.
I think no matter what you believe those in the Women’s March were trying to say, Hughes ties it all together in this beautiful poem, I, Too. So without further ado, I share with you a work of art that I only wish I had come across sooner. Here’s to a more honest, stronger future, and brighter days ahead.
By Langston Hughes
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.
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—
I, too, am America.