A Kinder Mistress

Langston Hughes

I am still working my way through The Warmth of Other Suns.

I even read a few stories aloud at dinner this week.

I am in the middle of Part 4, which is the is the largest section of The Warmth of Other Suns.

The section is entitled The Kinder Mistress, from the Langston Hughes‘ poem that opens the section.  Wilkerson opens each of the five parts of the book with a quotation from writings by iconic African-American intellectuals. These poems and quotes are some of my favorite parts of the book.  I was especially moved by this one though so I wanted to share it.

The South

by Langston Hughes

The lazy, laughing South
With blood on its mouth …
Passionate, cruel,
Honey-dipped, syphilitic —
That is the South.
And I, who am black, would love her
But she spits in my face …
So now I seek the North —
The cold-faced North,
For she, they say,
is a kinder mistress.


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