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(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967 / Missouri)

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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?

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003
Edited: Tuesday, April 30, 2013


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

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Comments about this poem (Cultural Exchange by Langston Hughes )

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  • Takiyah Woods (7/16/2013 6:03:00 PM)

    This is such a beautiful poem. It really touches me.

    17 person liked.
    7 person did not like.
  • Angel E. B. (4/25/2013 11:32:00 AM)

    This is such a good poem, it really describes the situation of many african americans back then. It really resonates with me because I'm a halfie too.

  • Mark Jensen (1/4/2013 1:40:00 AM)

    A marvelous poem! Many levels of reflection and surprising turns. Langston Hughes is génial!

  • Sarah Brignac (9/11/2012 11:55:00 PM)

    Really go shows a point in life and how others think of each other...

  • Riley72 Bell (3/20/2012 11:46:00 PM)

    This a great piece. I had a connection with this as i am neither white nor black

  • Royàlé Dì (2/24/2012 1:41:00 PM)

    Grt piece...the contrast jst brings it al 2 a touch!

  • Cynthia Buhain-baello (2/19/2012 1:00:00 AM)

    Excellent! The poem conveys the author's dilemma in a witty way even though the message is rather profound (race and family conflict) .

  • Ali Wright (12/8/2011 12:33:00 PM)

    When I originally read this poem I also focused on the racial message. However, after studying the poem more carefully I concluded that 'race' was not the subject, rather it was the container stored the lesson.

    To me, the person in the poem was apologizing to his dead parents for blaming them for his life that was bitter because he wasn't accepted by blacks or whites.

    As he grew in understanding he realized that only 'he' was responsible for his success or lack thereof in this life.

    So the message to me is to fight the urge to 'blame' someone else for your problems and take complete ownership of your life.

  • Hans Vr (6/1/2010 10:35:00 AM)

    This man lives on in his poetry.
    Very nicely written.
    Let us do away with any form of racism and discrimination
    Poetry is a great way to teach wisdom.

  • Sarita Brown (10/27/2009 7:00:00 PM)

    Reading Langston Hughes now, in an age where a mixed race man has become president of the United States and where something he was so sure would never happen, has happened gives these poems a new and bittersweet resonance.

    i love Langston's honesty and vivid
    use of language.

    i hope he can see how far the world has come.

    blessings.

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