Life ain’t been no crystal stair…

I was around 13 or so when I first read this poem by Langston Hughes. I remember thinking… wow, now there’s someone who’s telling me the truth about life!

Around this age is when childhood starts to end… innocence gives way to experience. It’s a sad thing if you think about it… the loss of innocence… having to come to terms with the black and gray areas of life. So many people lie to children—hoping to prolong the bitter sting of reality I suppose.

This poem gave me a lot of comfort during that time and ever since then when my life has gotten crazy and out of control.

At the age of 13 I marveled that Hughes had chosen the image of a crystal staircase. Why this image? Why not a vase or something… silly kid thoughts, right?

Now that I’m in adulthood I know that a crystal staircase is what makes a poet a poet and what transforms a good writer into a great writer.

Mother to Son

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.

10 of Langston Hughes' Most Popular Poems - Biography
Langston Hughes

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16 thoughts on “Life ain’t been no crystal stair…

    1. Lovely. I just checked it out and left a comment. It’s a great poem. Thanks for visiting and commenting. I truly appreciate it. All the best and I wish you much success with your blog!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Reblogged this on Beyond the Flow and commented:
    Good morning All.
    I came across this post on my phone as I was waking up this morning. We’ve had a couple of really hot, humid days here and my breathing’s been really bad. It’s been tough.
    I also try to impact some wisdm into my kids, who are now teenagers, so even catching them on their way out the door can be difficult and what does mum and dad know anyway? Enough to know we need to apply the KISS principle when talking to our kids…Keep It Simple, Stupid.
    This poem is an excellent encouragement.
    Best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. While I am saddened that your innocence was lost around age 13, JoAnn, I have been delighted to be one of the many recipients of your singular wisdom and charm via your blog. I think most of us have a few splinters still in our feet as we have trod up similar staircases.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was wondering if there was a real-life crystal staircase so I googled it… sure enough! Thank you Swarovski 🙂
      Just goes to show, you really can find just about anything on the net these days!
      I’m doing pretty well and I hope you are too!


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