Langston Hughes

(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967 / Missouri)

Cross - Poem by Langston Hughes

My old man's a white old man
And my old mother's black.
If ever I cursed my white old man
I take my curses back.
If ever I cursed my black old mother
And wished she were in hell,
I'm sorry for that evil wish
And now I wish her well
My old man died in a fine big house.
My ma died in a shack.
I wonder where I'm going to die,
Being neither white nor black?


Comments about Cross by Langston Hughes

  • (2/1/2017 9:49:00 PM)

    There's no true answer to a mythical question
    Raises the question of race as a purely subjective, human construct and not a true reality. (Report) Reply

    5 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Bernard F. Asuncion (2/1/2017 9:48:00 PM)


    Interesting poem..... thanks for sharing.... (Report) Reply

  • Hebert Logerie Sr. (2/1/2017 10:11:00 AM)

    Hybrid
    Few people understood this poem Cross by Langston Hughes who was a mulatto. Mule is a byproduct of a donkey and a horse; that's the reality. I wonder where I'm going to die,
    Being neither white nor black? Langston Hughes was neither rich nor poor. This is a beautifully powerful poem. That's how things used to be in many countries. However, in his heart, he knew that he was a black man. In the USA, you are truly white or black: no hybrid.
    (Report) Reply

  • Antonio Cabral Filho (2/1/2017 7:45:00 AM)

    Antonio Cabral Filho - RJ/ Brasil
    Salve Langston Hughes! ! (Report) Reply

  • (2/1/2017 6:26:00 AM)


    A superb poem unfolding the different strata of emotions occupying human mind and a tug of war going on between them for one up man ship. (Report) Reply

  • Lantz Pierre (2/1/2017 5:51:00 AM)

    What a man can bare
    The poem opens with two bald statements of fact. No judgement, no bias, one way or the other. No emotional overtones, no clutching at or pushing away. The next 6 lines amount to an apology, albeit hypothetical. The author won't own up to ever having bad-mouthed his parents, but supposes that if it had occurred at some point, well, then now is his chance to make amends and confess it wasn't kind and wasn't right of him. In essence, if he said something negative towards them (and what child doesn't at some point?) he now takes them back and apologizes for such behavior (as most adults finally do as they mature and review their lives) . Two more lines of bald fact follow the confession. He parents are dead (a reason for his reflection of the preceding lines) and each died in economic circumstances unique from the other, apparently no longer together (another reason for reflection on his relationship with each during their influential years on him) . And then a final summation of self-reflection, a self that is distorted when he considers his reflection in the mirror of each parent individually.

    The language and statements, the diction, the construction of this poem is presented as cold, objective almost disinterested. But the sum of the parts is highly emotive. A very evenly matched tug-of-war where he is stuck in the middle, equally attracted and repelled from the forces that created him on either side. A masterful display of what the art of poetry is, what it can do and what it should do. Uncanny.
    (Report) Reply

  • Anil Kumar Panda (2/1/2017 4:55:00 AM)


    A nice poem with a message. Liked it. (Report) Reply

  • Indira Renganathan (2/1/2017 4:15:00 AM)


    Straight to heaven.....for this valuable poem (Report) Reply

  • Tom Allport (2/1/2017 4:11:00 AM)

    tom allport
    a profoundly great poem? (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (2/1/2017 12:54:00 AM)

    Old
    Old man. Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • Kim Barney (4/2/2016 12:39:00 AM)


    Great poem by one of the greatest poets. He has influenced many other writers. (Report) Reply

  • (11/2/2015 3:19:00 AM)


    Brilliant piece. (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Fang (10/28/2015 4:55:00 PM)


    Great Poem! :) I love it! (Report) Reply

  • Frank (black) Blacharczyk (7/9/2015 5:40:00 PM)


    So simple yet so powerful. (Report) Reply

  • (6/26/2015 9:44:00 AM)


    nice poem so captivating (Report) Reply

  • Lisbon Tawanda (5/13/2015 3:36:00 AM)


    So beautiful a poem. I like it! (Report) Reply

  • (4/22/2015 10:14:00 PM)


    Simple yet powerful :) (Report) Reply

  • Primrose Tee (7/2/2014 1:54:00 PM)


    Lovely poem (Report) Reply

  • Patricia Grantham (4/24/2014 8:24:00 AM)


    This is a wow write. One of the most honest and
    expressive poems I have ever had the pleasure
    of reading. The dilemma of being neither white nor
    black holds true. To solve the problem just be you!
    Excellent.
    (Report) Reply

    Rod Henderson (3/24/2015 1:21:00 PM)

    No issue lies within the gist.
    Where love presides there is no hitch.

  • (7/16/2013 6:03:00 PM)


    This is such a beautiful poem. It really touches me. (Report) Reply

Read all 42 comments »

User Rating:
4,0 / 5 ( 372 votes ) 40



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: sorry, evil, mother, house



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

Poem Edited: Tuesday, April 30, 2013


[Report Error]