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.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Langston Hughes's poem Mother to Son

101 Comments

  1. Jinal Patel says:

    This poem tell us that we should never give up in our life. Life is not easy for everyone.

  2. Daynon Turner says:

    To begin, I would like to note that Langston Hughes is an exceptional writer especially in the era of the Harlem Renaissance. This poem really portrays how he felt in that time period. He talks about problems that come in life but to run away from them. He urges us to confront them and jump over any obstacles. Because, in the end, your gonna get through it

  3. Katie says:

    This poem to me is about how a mother tells her son that you have to live your life and not stop or turn back just because there is a problem. So I think this poem is a good one.

  4. john says:

    la poema esta muy bien porque ella habla de su vila.

  5. jessica colley says:

    I love this poem, and will love to see a lot more of these poems.

  6. Carole says:

    This was read to our minister during a farewell concert to celebrate his retirement after 23 years in our church. There were so many beautiful songs, funny skits, touching remembrances; as well as paintings & poems by the children of the congregation, and other tributes. I was on the verge of tears many times, but THIS was the one thing that tipped the tears over my cheeks.

    We have very few black people in our congregation, we are relatively well-off, Canadian Unitarians. But this poem moves me SO much (I heard it for the first time today) that despite reading in over & over, it wrenches my heart every time.
    THANKS LANGSTON HUGHES. (Yes, I know who he is & his dates, etc.)

  7. carya says:

    I can really relate to this. I’m a college student,mother of 2, and a wife. I have many obstacles. I do realize life for me ain’t going to be a crystal stair. Everythng i’m going through at this time will be worth it. I will always let God be the define desider of my life, and everything will okay.

  8. DONDON says:

    HI MY DEAR POEM THIS POEM I TOOK IT AT MY UNIV.THIS IS A VERY NICE POEM.

  9. Angelique says:

    I think this poem is really good it has help me come through all my trials and obstacles. When I’m going through something I just look back at this poem and tell myself that I can’t give up I can make it.

  10. Tana says:

    I read this poem at an assembly in the 3rd grade. Thanks goodness I never forgot it because life for me ain’t been no crystal stair. But I’se a stll climbin. These words have helped me to not give up.

  11. Diane says:

    What is meant by the metaphor “the crystal stair”

  12. Annie Elder says:

    I’m trying to find the central theme/focus the poem mother to Son. Different stanza’s if there are any.

  13. RIRI MALANG says:

    THIS POEM IS REALI GOOD, BY THIS POEM MOST PEOPLE KNOW THAT LIFE IS NOT CRYSTAL STAIRT AND WE MUST STRUGGLE TO PSCE THE LIFE.

  14. Andrew Sonner says:

    I am trial judge who sees young men before him in serious trouble with mothers who care, who have to face disappointment with their children who are facing jail sentences and diminished futures. The words from this poem come to mind so often as I see those sad mothers in court.

  15. melly says:

    I read this poem when i was senior in high school and i feel in love with it. I am now in my twenties and i an still remember it. This poem will always be with me, it is just great.

  16. Jewel says:

    I had to memorize this poem in 3rd grade….I am now a junior in high school (11th grade) and i still remember bits of it….this, to me, proves to be one of the greatest poems ever written.

  17. monique says:

    The first time I read this poem was in my eighth grade Poetry class. I was enlightened! I read it today which is a year later and I feel the same way or even better! Great job Mr. Hughes.

  18. tarsha says:

    IT’S A GREATTT POEMS AND IT MEANS MORE TO ME THAN SOME BOYS!

  19. Kacey says:

    I have to do a project on this poem, i am in the 11th grade and i am enjoying doing a project for once! i can relate to what Hughes is saying, dont give up just keep trying because the people who have tried have been the ones to succeed more in life. Thats a lesson i dont have to prove it does it all by itself. Never give up, there will be good consequences!
    good luck to all

  20. Bob says:

    This poem would be fine except that I had to memorize it in eigth grade. It is a good one though I must admitt

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