Dreams – A Poem by Langston Hughes

Today’s poem comes from one of the leading literary figures of the Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes. As a writer his work included short stories, translations, children’s books and anthologies. But he was best known for his poems. His writing reflected the idea that black culture should be celebrated, because it is just as valuable as white culture, a historical sentiment relevant to today’s refrain of ‘black lives matter’.

‘Dreams’ was written in the early years of the civil rights movement. The words hold the promise of hope and signal the consequences ‘when dreams go’. The poem gives us encouragement to break through whatever roadblocks we encounter on the way to fulfilling our life goals.


Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.




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