Friday, September 12, 2014

Twenty Years Later...

Hello, and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Renee at No Water River for Roundup. I'm delighted to be a guest poster at The Poem Farm, where Amy asked me to talk about revision. Earlier this week, I guest posted at Amy's Sharing Our Notebooks to talk about my life in notebooks... and Amy is generously doing a giveaway of WILDEBEEST! Thank you, Amy!

I've been traveling this week, and I can't wait to share with all of you -- but first, today is a special day:  today my firstborn son turns 20. Happy birthday, Daniel!

Here we are, on that day:

And here is my most favorite Langston Hughes poem ever, which most everyone knows, but it's one to be enjoyed over and over -- and it happens to be on the topic. It's been on my mind ever since I saw in a magazine how someone had painted their "House Rules" on the risers of their staircase. Since then, I discovered a board devoted to creative stair design on Pinterest. I want to do something similar.... with this poem!

Mother to Son
by Langston Hughes

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.


  1. Oh, my goodness, that is so beautiful. And so is that tender picture of you and your son. I'm so glad you also shared your mushy mamma moment today! I have a feeling there will be hundreds more for us in the future -- bittersweet, but I wouldn't trade them for the world. Happy birthday to Daniel, and to his lovely mamma.

  2. Beautiful reading, Irene. Happy birthday to Daniel!

  3. Happy Birthday to your son, Irene. It really is a special day! And painting that poem on your stairs, just think, to read those words each day-wonderful thought.

  4. Happy Birthday to Daniel! And welcome to life as mom of a 20-something. Those adorable little ones do make captivating young adults! Thanks for sharing this poem - the second time I've stumbled across this week - so timeless. xo

  5. Love mushy mama moments.
    Love your poem.

    and I loved reading about you and revision!

  6. I just watched Escape from Sobibor this weekend, and this poem connected with the pain of those parents and children in a Polish extermination camp in WWII. So much pain and sadness, but we go on, and we find joy. Thanks for sharing this!


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