We at GCP were so excited to see poetry included in the opening ceremonies of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, we just had to make this the subject of this week’s Thoughtful Thursday. Oprah Winfrey (who funded the museum’s auditorium) and Will Smith gifted us with some mighty thoughts in a poetry battle. You can see them battle here, and read the works they presented below. Share this with your sons! Enjoy.
History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
I have been in Sorrow’s kitchen and licked out all the pots. Then I have stood on the peaky mountain wrapped in rainbows, with a harp and a sword in my hands…
Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me.
—Zora Neale Hurston
What are the blues? They are home-grown black music that acknowledges the tenuous nature of all human existence, a heroic response to what is called the human condition…We invented the blues; Europeans invented psychoanalysis. You invent what you need.
If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.
Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.
–Martin Luther King, Jr.