TH (August 25,1945 / Plainwell, Michigan)

The Ancient Race

and who am i to tell?
and what am i to say?
and who am i to tell?
and what am i to say?
we are an old people
an ancient race
our ways have been forgotten
out artifacts have rusted
our civilization crumbled to dust
now we face extinction
an old people
and when we are gone
and when we are gone
who will be here?
and what will remain?

and who am i to tell?
and what am i to say?
and who am i to tell?
and what am i to say?
we are an old people
our ancestors once stood
before sod huts
beneath the desert sky
and worshiped pagan gods
now the lineage has been broken
we did not keep the ancient rituals.
or practice the ancient rites.
now time has passed us by
and what did we live for?
and what have we learned?
and what has been accomplished?
and what do we leave behind?

we shall go off this planet
leaving no trace of our existence
and who am i to tell?
and what am i to say?
and who will be there
to know if it makes any difference?

we are an old people
the wages of time and age
are visible in the lines of our faces
we are slow. we no longer
have the resilience of our youth
once we were many
now we are few
our hearts still beat with passion
but we no longer have
the desire we once had
nor the belief in unobtainable goals
we know that we won't live forever

we shall die with the same beliefs
we lived our lives for

we saw the best minds of our
generation
starving, homeless, wandering the stark
streets
pushing a shopping cart
bat crazy and talking to themselves
unwashed and uncared for
without family or friends

aware of our own mortality
aware of how little time we have left
aware of how little we can do
by ourselves alone
elders of a mighty race
no longer recognized the
possibility of change

given time to write a poem,
some will come to say
'why did you write? '
why did I write?
only to prove to myself
that i was here

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Langston Hughes

Dreams

Comments (1)

Do you sometimes think you exist is several time periods at once? Some of your poems read as if written AFTER the next apocalypse.