29 June 2015

Poem of the Week 2015/26

Little Lyric (Of Great Importance)

I wish the rent
Was heaven sent.

Langston Hughes

Some Langston Hughes to mark the halfway point of this year. There is an old tradition, going back to the Greek and Latin poets and no doubt even predating them among now-lost oral cultures, of the epigram, a concise and well-turned expression of a universal truth (sometimes in the guise of a personal jab). Hughes gives us an excellent example, combining his interest in colloquial speech – you can easily imagine someone actually saying this – in social justice, and in poetic form. I think we don't need much explication here; I'm sure we've all said or sighed the same thing. Hughes really hits home here (home, as long as you can pay the rent!).

I took this from The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, Arnold Rampersad, editor, and David Roessel, Associate Editor.

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