Free Verse Poem Inspired by Langston Hughes' "Theme for English B"
The instructor said,
Go on and write a poem now
About being an American.
Put in how you see yourself,
What is and what is not.
And so I pondered on a white page,
Typed, paused to glance out a darkened window.
What is this land I see? These curving highways
Patched with rivulets of tar and striped yellow.
What is America?
Land of the free,
Land of the brave,
Land of plenty,
Land of hope.
What is an American?
What am I?
I am no tycoon, no socialite,
But I dream dreams and I hope hopes.
I am no solider, no patriot,
But my heart beats faster when the anthem plays.
I am no great inventor, no political firebrand,
But in my mind run plans and schemes and ideas.
Because I know no bounds inhibit me from pulling myself and others up,
Because I will suffer and grit my teeth against the wind,
Because I am willing to make my voice heard above the lies and corruption,
Because I see these highways and dare to call them my own,
Because I am white, and there are many
But I can join hands with them, and
Because I can, I call myself
This is my poem, my country.