Thursday, March 26, 2009

Building a World

Freedom's Plow is a Langston Hughes poem about dreams and work and the foundations of America.

And maybe this piece of that poem, standing alone, is about every visionary and every idea and every movement...

When a man starts to build a world,

He starts first with himself

And the faith that is in his heart-

The strength there,

The will there to build.


First in the heart is the dream-

Then the mind starts seeking a way.

His eyes look out on the world,

On the great wooded world,

On the rich soil of the world,

On the rivers of the world.


The eyes see there materials for building,

See the difficulties, too, and the obstacles.

The mind seeks a way to overcome these obstacles.

The hand seeks tools to cut the wood,

To till the soil, and harness the power of the waters.

Then the hand seeks other hands to help,

A community of hands to help-

Thus the dream becomes not one man's dream alone,

But a community dream.

Not my dream alone, but our dream.

Not my world alone,

But your world and my world,

Belonging to all the hands who build.


Now read the whole thing. It's fun to see how context adjusts the meaning.

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