Langston Hughes

(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967 / Missouri)

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As I Grew Older


It was a long time ago.
I have almost forgotten my dream.
But it was there then,
In front of me,
Bright like a sun—
My dream.
And then the wall rose,
Rose slowly,
Slowly,
Between me and my dream.
Rose until it touched the sky—
The wall.
Shadow.
I am black.
I lie down in the shadow.
No longer the light of my dream before me,
Above me.
Only the thick wall.
Only the shadow.
My hands!
My dark hands!
Break through the wall!
Find my dream!
Help me to shatter this darkness,
To smash this night,
To break this shadow
Into a thousand lights of sun,
Into a thousand whirling dreams
Of sun!

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003
Edited: Wednesday, November 13, 2013

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Read poems about / on: dream, rose, sun, dark, sky, light, night, time

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Comments about this poem (As I Grew Older by Langston Hughes )

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  • Melikhaya Zagagana (5/7/2014 10:28:00 AM)

    The Man standing, i love Mr. Hughes he is very honest and realistic in ways of writing, he dreams real life. (Report) Reply

  • Michelle Claus (5/6/2014 2:25:00 PM)

    I love how Langston Hughes remained with the imagery of wall, black, and shadow for 15 lines. As a poetic technique, this hammers down one of his main points - oppression imposes stagnation. Then Hughes interjected, Break through the wall! This line has powerful impact, because we were with the wall and the shadow for 15 lines prior. I love this poem. (Report) Reply

  • Shobana Gomes (4/30/2014 7:35:00 AM)

    How explicitly vivid about reaching out for dreams and breaking barriers for it to come true. Excellent poem. (Report) Reply

  • Joseph Sanchez (4/28/2014 11:43:00 AM)

    you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
    Or being hated don't give way to hating,
    And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise; (Report) Reply

  • Noctiluca Scintillans (4/1/2014 5:03:00 AM)

    We might lose our dreams once in a while, but we are bound to swam across even the deepest seas to reach out our dreams (Report) Reply

  • Damo Geka (3/8/2014 12:43:00 PM)

    my mother in-law got a nearly new Chevrolet Traverse SUV by working parttime from a home computer... look here http: //www.lock90.com (Report) Reply

  • Francis Lynch (2/25/2014 8:23:00 AM)

    Poems like this should bolster all of us. The language, imagery, cadence, sytax, etc. are simplistic and meaningful. You don't have to be T.S. Elliot to write great poetry. (Report) Reply

  • Alexio Serrano (1/7/2014 3:10:00 PM)

    Langston Hughes is my favorite poet, and this poem is so deep, so true. I truly love this poem for it rings true in my own ears. (Report) Reply

  • Fiona Schwartzinoff (12/21/2013 10:38:00 PM)

    WOW! This last line:
    Help me to shatter this darkness,
    To smash this night,
    To break this shadow
    Into a thousand lights of sun,
    Into a thousand whirling dreams
    Of sun!

    Just... AMAZING! (Report) Reply

Read all 88 comments »

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