Positive, Inspirational Poem by Langston Hughes Recited by Oprah Winfrey Climbing Sydney Harbor Bridge

The Langston Hughes poem, “Mother To Son,” captures a positive life perspective, aspirations for the future, and a dream that every child’s life will have its full measure of “crystal stairs.”

Mother To Son

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 –
Bare.
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.

- Langston Hughes, 1922