Langston Hughes, "Mother to Son" (1922)
Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
It's had tacks in it,
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.
First published in The Crisis, December 1922
Also published in The Weary Blues, 1925