Poetry Friday: An Ode to Dreams (and Keeping ‘Em)

poetry friday

I love celebrating the New Year with Poetry. I just finished reading this gorgeous book which I learned about through another Poetry Friday friend, Linda Kulp in her Thanksgiving Post here. Needless to say, I fell in love with Langston Hughes all over again. Poetry Friday is hosted this week by the amazingly-beautiful and smart and fabulous Renee from No Water River.


There are 66 poems in all in this collection. Seven additional poems were included in this book since this is the 75th Anniversary Edition. The poems have been thematically arranged into six lovely categories: The Dream Keeper, Sea Charm, Dressed Up, Feet O’ Jesus, Walkers with the Dawn, and the seven Additional Poems. I am awed by the power of Hughes’ verse, his wondrous vision, his resilience, his positively-glowing spirit. His words transcend cultural boundaries – as they speak of the heart’s longings and whispered desires. And Brian Pinkney’s artwork – simply glorious. I took a photo of four of my favorite poems from the collection and edited it using my trusty iPhone app. I hope that you’d enjoy them as much as I did.


How beautiful is that? I do long for my heart’s song .. especially on rainy nights. I have blue cloud-cloth on standby.


This one is kind of sad… Woe is the day when we can’t see fairies dance and twirl and swirl any longer – our eyes clouded over by world-weary disenchantment, sarcasm, and biting cynicism. “Am I too old to see the fairies dance? I cannot find them any more.” Hand on heart.


Another sad one. Speaks to me. So simple yet so eloquent and filled with bursting truth that need not be coated with glitter and spangles and deafening soundtracks.


And the trademark/classic poem of all times. It shall never get old. Here’s to dreams and holding fast to them. There’s always room for enchantment. I also have a video clip from Priscilla Ahn that I’d like to share with you all. The song is aptly called “Dream” – lyrics of the song could be found below. Enjoy!

 I was a little girl alone in my little world who dreamed of a little home for me. 
I played pretend between the trees, and fed my houseguests bark and leaves, and laughed in my pretty bed of green. 

I had a dream 
That I could fly from the highest swing. 
I had a dream. 

Long walks in the dark through woods grown behind the park, I asked God who I’m supposed to be. 
The stars smiled down on me, God answered in silent reverie. I said a prayer and fell asleep. 

I had a dream 
That I could fly from the highest tree. 
I had a dream. 

Now I’m old and feeling grey. I don’t know what’s left to say about this life I’m willing to leave. 
I lived it full and I lived it well, there’s many tales I’ve lived to tell. I’m ready now, I’m ready now, I’m ready now to fly from the highest wing. 

I had a dream.

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

24 comments on “Poetry Friday: An Ode to Dreams (and Keeping ‘Em)

  1. Great poetry book that is. This post reminds me to have my students memorize another poem. Dreams by Langston Hughes might be a good one. Thanks Myra! Btw, how do you pronounce his last name?


    • Hi Jerson, Im glad you liked it, this reminds me to have my own 11 year old daughter have at least one Hughes poem memorized. Let me know how it goes in your class. Re the pronounciation, Im not too sure myself. 🙂


  2. Pingback: No Water River One-Year Anniversary and Bloopers Video

  3. What a lovely, inspirational post! Just what I needed today. All the poems are sublime and so beautifully presented. And I have you to thank for introducing me to Priscilla Ahn — what a crystal clear, pure voice!


    • Hi Jama, a fellow Tori Amos fan would undoubtedly enjoy Priscilla Ahn’s voice. A friend shared this videoclip with me before I left for Singapore, it was absolutely perfect at the time. glad to know the poems found you too at the perfect moment.


  4. I’m with Jama – such a beautiful post featuring timeless, powerful words. And that Priscilla Ahn is something else – pure talent. Thank you for sharing all of it!


    • Dear Robyn, they are such classic lines arent they. Never fails to move the heart. Im glad you liked Priscilla Ahn’s Dream. 🙂


  5. ‘Dream Keeper’ is so powerfu in so few words, and can be appreciated by almost any age…a mark of greatness.


  6. Thank you for reminding us to hold onto our dreams! In today’s world it is not always easy. And thank you for sharing my all time favorite Langston Hughes poem, “Poem”. Priscilla Ahn is amazing! =)


  7. Hi, Myra. Hughes’ poem “After Many Springs” and Priscilla Ahn’s “Dream” called to mind the movie “My Neighbor Totoro.” I watched it (again) with my daughter this week — about two sisters who make friends with a spirit of the forest.


    • Hi Laura, we are huge Studio Ghibli fans ourselves in our household. I havent seen Neighbor Totoro though for a long time. will definitely try to find it again.


  8. It is a beautiful book, one my students returned to often, Myra. My favorite is “Poem”. I love what you do with the IPhone App. Can you share what one you are using? Thanks!


    • Hi Linda, I meant to reply to this sooner. Ahh. Soooo many things going on. I am using Filter Mania 2 which should be free on iPhone. I just take a photo of the page and edit it using the filters in the app and it works wonders! 🙂


  9. You MUST read Blue Balliett’s new book HOLD FAST (2013) which is, again, set in Chicago, but this time inspired through and through by Langston Hughes. Topic: homelessness. It’s FANTASTIC.


  10. I have this book (in an earlier edition) in my classroom. I find my students usually like his poetry. Thanks for sharing this!


  11. You’ve instilled a powerful ‘want’ in me to read the Langston Hughes book. What beautiful, from-the-heart poems. Your theme about dreams and holding onto them is so perfect for the beginning of the year. Thank you!


    • Hi Violet, it is definitely a must-read. I thought that beginning the year in such a hopeful poetic dream-like note would be lovely. 🙂


  12. We study Hughes’ poems later in the year, and your post reminds me why my kids (and I) just cherish the experience.


    • Hi Tara, it must be a wonderful experience sharing this with the kids. We’re having a Poetry theme in my book club (GatheringReaders) next month. Maybe I’d share a bit of Langston Hughes to my reluctant-poetry-readers. 🙂


  13. Pingback: [Poetry Friday] Nancy Wood’s “Strengthen the Things That Remain” – in the Wake of Minister Mentor LKY’s Passing | Gathering Books

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