Langston Hughes

(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967 / Missouri)

Kids Who Die - Poem by Langston Hughes

This is for the kids who die,
Black and white,
For kids will die certainly.
The old and rich will live on awhile,
As always,
Eating blood and gold,
Letting kids die.

Kids will die in the swamps of Mississippi
Organizing sharecroppers
Kids will die in the streets of Chicago
Organizing workers
Kids will die in the orange groves of California
Telling others to get together
Whites and Filipinos,
Negroes and Mexicans,
All kinds of kids will die
Who don't believe in lies, and bribes, and contentment
And a lousy peace.

Of course, the wise and the learned
Who pen editorials in the papers,
And the gentlemen with Dr. in front of their names
White and black,
Who make surveys and write books
Will live on weaving words to smother the kids who die,
And the sleazy courts,
And the bribe-reaching police,
And the blood-loving generals,
And the money-loving preachers
Will all raise their hands against the kids who die,
Beating them with laws and clubs and bayonets and bullets
To frighten the people—
For the kids who die are like iron in the blood of the people—
And the old and rich don't want the people
To taste the iron of the kids who die,
Don't want the people to get wise to their own power,
To believe an Angelo Herndon, or even get together

Listen, kids who die—
Maybe, now, there will be no monument for you
Except in our hearts
Maybe your bodies'll be lost in a swamp
Or a prison grave, or the potter's field,
Or the rivers where you're drowned like Leibknecht
But the day will come—
You are sure yourselves that it is coming—
When the marching feet of the masses
Will raise for you a living monument of love,
And joy, and laughter,
And black hands and white hands clasped as one,
And a song that reaches the sky—
The song of the life triumphant
Through the kids who die.

Topic(s) of this poem: death, deaths, kid, kids


Comments about Kids Who Die by Langston Hughes

  • Tom Allport (2/12/2017 3:52:00 PM)

    tom allport
    an interesting and sad poem about why children die? when we live in a so called civilised world full of plenty? (Report) Reply

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  • (8/26/2016 12:06:00 AM)


    The old and rich done want the people to get wise
    to their own power.
    Thanks for sharing this reality through an eye opening powerful verse.
    (Report) Reply

  • Gajanan Mishra (8/25/2016 8:04:00 PM)


    Monuments of love kids, right. (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (8/25/2016 5:44:00 PM)


    I know somewhat about the historic events in which college protesters lost their lives- -no, were murdered. But I have to make a little protest about this poem in that Langston blames the old and the rich time after time. The old are probably having trouble getting out of their chairs, paying for their meds, and fighting off senility, dementia, arthritis, loss of balance, etc. The rich? Maybe so, maybe not. There are many rich people who donate to charities that struggle with the ills of society. Maybe as many rich people as middle-class people care. This point the finger of blame poem didn't work for me - I think the roots of evil extend deeper into the human psyche than this poem indicates. Still like most of his poetry so don't throw rocks, please. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (8/25/2016 3:20:00 AM)


    Except in our hearts! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • (1/22/2016 2:11:00 AM)

    Report mid=5496183
    I like chicken they go BLURGHEHTYHEGHHR Already Reported Reply

  • (1/22/2016 2:11:00 AM)

    Report mid=5496183
    Yeh, chicken finger have prevail and first is to commnt here :) Already Reported Reply

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, August 8, 2015



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