It’s almost the 110 years since Langston Hughes was born – 1 February 1902. Part of the Harlem Renaissance, called a ‘literary gutter rat’ for writing poetry of black life in Harlem (NY), attacked for sexual ‘deviance’, and red-baited for being  communist, he was one of the leading poets in 20th century USA – as many will know.

lh02

Put One More s in the U.S.A.

To make it Soviet.

One more s in the U.S.A.

Oh, we’ll live to see it yet.

In 1932 he spent a long stretch in the Soviet Union, especially in the eastern parts.

Good-morning, Revolution:

You’re the very best friend

I ever had.

We gonna pal around together from now on.

Listen, Revolution,

We’re buddies, see—

Together,

We can take everything:

Factories, arsenals, houses, ships

Railroads, forests, fields, orchards,

Bus lines, telegraphs, radios

(Jesus! Raise hell with radios!)

Steel mills, coal mines, oil wells, gas,

All the tools of production,

(Great day in the morning!)

Everything—

And turn ‘em over to the people who work.

Rule and run ‘em for us people who work.

And then there’s the great ‘Ballad of Lenin’

Comrade Lenin of Russia,
High in a marble tomb,
Move over, Comrade Lenin,
And give me room.

I am Ivan, the peasant
Boots all muddy with soil.
I fought with you Comrade Lenin.
Now I’ve finished my toil.

Comrade Lenin of Russia,
Alive in a marble tomb,
Move over, Comrade Lenin,
And give me room.
I am Chico, the Negro
Cutting cane in the sun.
I lived for you, Comrade Lenin.
Now my work is done.

Comrade Lenin of Russia,
Honored in a marble tomb,
Move over, Comrade Lenin,
And give me room.

I am Chang from the foundries
On strike in the streets of Shanghai.
For the sake of the Revolution
I fight, I starve, I die.

Comrade Lenin of Russia
Rises in the marble tomb:
On guard with the fighters forever – –

The world is our room!

One more, with an echo of the popular Lenin poems and songs in the USSR:

Lenin walks around the world.

Frontiers cannot bar him.

Neither barracks nor barricades impede.

Nor does barbed wire scar him.

Lenin walks around the world.

Black, brown, and white receive him.

Language is no barrier.

The strangest tongues believe him.

Lenin walks around the world.

The sun sets like a scar.

Between the darkness and the dawn

There rises a red star.

lh01

 

(ht cp)

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