Langston Hughes
  Democracy will not come
Today, this year
Nor ever
Through compromise and fear.I have as much right
As the other fellow has
To stand
On my two feet
And own the land.

I tire so of hearing people say,
Let things take their course.
Tomorrow is another day.
I do not need my freedom when I’m dead.
I cannot live on tomorrow’s bread.

Is a strong seed
In a great need.

I live here, too.
I want freedom
Just as you.


  1. Read the poem (how many times?)
  2. Highlight the rhyme scheme in the poem. What about the rhyme scheme – last two stanzas have much more pronounced rhyme. Why?
  3. Discuss how the form of a poem impacts its effect, its power, its meaning.Consider how the structure starts with 4 lines, builds to 5, longer 5, short 4, short 3 – how does this affect the way the poem is read? How does it affect meaning?
  4. What other devices are evident in the poem?
  5. Students write a thoughtful response paragraph. Compare the ideas and meaning in this poem to Khalil Reza’s poem. Include ideas about poetry as social commentary. Must use specific quotes from each poem and relate to each author’s situation.

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