The Dream of Poetry by Juan Felipe Herrera & Langston Hughes (Coursework Sample)
have the writer do task one of answering the three questions.
Read the following two poems and then complete the tasks that follow:
"Let America Be America Again"
by Langston Hughes
Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.
(America never was America to me.)
Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.
(It never was America to me.)
O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.
(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")
Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?
I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.
I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!
I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.
Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
To build a "homeland of the free."
Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that's almost dead today.
O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine—the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.
Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!
Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!
By Juan Felipe Herrera
A dónde vamos where are we going
Speak in English or the guard is going to come
A dónde vamos where are we going
Speak in English or the guard is gonna get us hermana
Pero qué hicimos but what did we do
Speak in English come on
Nomás sé unas pocas palabras I just know a few words
You better figure it out hermana the guard is right there
See the bus driver
Tantos días y ni sabíamos para donde íbamos
So many days and we didn't even know where we were headed
I know where we're going
Where we always go
To some detention center to some fingerprinting hall or cube
Some warehouse warehouse after warehouse
Pero ya nos investigaron ya cruzamos ya nos cacharon
Los federales del bordo qué más quieren
But they already questioned us we already crossed over they
already grabbed us the Border Patrol what more do they want
We are on the bus now
that is all
A dónde vamos te digo salí desde Honduras
No hemos comido nada y dónde vamos a dormir
Where are we going I am telling you I came from Honduras
We haven’t eaten anything and where are we going to sleep
I don’t want to talk about it just tell them
That you came from nowhere
I came from nowhere
And we crossed the border from nowhere
And now you and me and everybody else here is
On a bus to nowehere you got it?
Pero por eso nos venimos para salir de la nada
But that’s why we came to leave all that nothing behind
When the bus stops there will be more nothing
We’re here hermana
Y esas gentes quiénes son
no quieren que siga el camión
No quieren que sigamos
Están bloqueando el bus
A dónde vamos ahora
Those people there who are they
they don't want the bus to keep going
they don't want us to keep going
now they are blocking the bus
so where do we go
He tardado 47 días para llegar acá no fue fácil hermana
45 días desde Honduras con los coyotes los que se — bueno
ya sabes lo que les hicieron a las chicas allí mero en frente
de nosotros pero qué íbamos a hacer y los trenes los trenes
cómo diré hermana cientos de
nosotros como gallinas como topos en jaulas y verduras
pudriendóse en los trenes de miles me oyes de miles y se resbalaban
de los techos y los desiertos de Arizona de Tajas sed y hambre
sed y hambre dos cosas sed y hambre día tras día hermana
y ahora aquí en este camión y quién sabe a dónde
vamos hermana fijate vengo desde Brownsville dónde nos amarraron
y ahora en California pero todavía no entramos y todavía el bordo
está por delante
It took me 47 days to get here it wasn't easy hermana
45 days from Honduras with the coyotes the ones that — well
you know what they did to las chicas
right there in front of us so what were we supposed
to do and the trains the trains how can I tell you hermana hundreds
of us like chickens like gophers in cages and vegetables
rotting on trains of thousands you hear me of thousands and they slid
from the rooftops and the deserts of Arizona and Texas thirst and hunger
thirst and hunger two things thirst and hunger day after day hermana
and now here on this bus of who-knows-where we are going
hermana listen I come from Brownsville where they tied us up
and now in California but still we're not inside and still the border
lies ahead of us
I told you to speak in English even un poquito
the guard is going to think we are doing something
people are screaming outside
they want to push the bus back
Pero para dónde le damos hermana
por eso me vine
le quebraron las piernas a mi padre
las pandillas mataron a mi hijo
solo quiero que estemos juntos
tantos años hermana
But where do we go hermana
that's why I came here
they broke my father's legs
gangs killed my son
I just want us to be together
so many years hermana
Mi madre me dijo que lo más importante
es la libertad la bondad y la buenas acciones
con el prójimo
My mother told me that the most important thing
is freedom kindness and doing good
What are you talking about?
I told you to be quiet
La libertad viene desde muy adentro
allí reside todo el dolor de todo el mundo
el momento en que purguemos ese dolor de nuestras entrañas
seremos libres y en ese momento tenemos que
llenarnos de todo el dolor de todos los seres
para liberarlos a ellos mismos
Freedom comes from deep inside
all the pain of the world lives there
the second we cleanse that pain from our guts
we shall be free and in that moment we have to
fill ourselves up with all the pain of all beings
to free them — all of them
The guard is coming well
now what maybe they'll take us
to another detention center we'll eat we’ll have a floor
a blanket toilets water and each other
for a while
No somos nada y venimos de la nada
pero esa nada lo es todo si la nutres de amor
por eso venceremos
We are nothing and we come from nothing
but that nothing is everything, if you feed it with love
that is why we will triumph
We are everything hermana
Because we come from everything
Now after reading both poems here are your two tasks:
Task #1: (Answer the following three questions)
Question #1: What do the two poems have in common?
Question #2: What is different about them?
Question #3: Are they poems that offer hope about the future or are they trying to say the American Dream is false hope?
Write your own unique poem on the American Dream. There are no guidelines other than making it at least 12 lines long. It doesn't have to rhyme or follow any particular cadence.
Notes from me the student to the Writer:
* Assignment must be done in Times New Roman Font Size 12 with 1 inch margins all around.
*The second poem "Borderbus" by Juan Felipe Herrera has some spanish language words but just in case you don't understand the spanish words, right after in the following lines there's the English translation.
Thank you for your time .
Now after reading both poems here are your two tasks:Task #1: (Answer the following three questions)Question #1: What do the two poems have in common?
The two poems both speak about the journey of every man towards freedom. The poems present an inner idea that freedom is a concept that is felt from within. Question #2: What is different about them?
The difference of the two poems is in their notion of living free. The first poem speaks about attaining freedom by being united with his fellow Americans in making their land a true land of the free. The second poem focuses more on an inward perception of freedom. Their freedom comes from the moment that they live in, in their intention for a bett
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