Mimicking “Mother to Son”

After dissecting the literary and metaphorical implications of the Langston Hughes poem, Mother to Son, I assigned my students to mimic the writing style and create their own poem whose purpose is to give advice.  I wanted to share one of the poems that I received yesterday.

Original Mother to Son

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
Bare.
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So, boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps.
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

Student Rendition:

Look deeply in my eyes, my son

and listen to my voice.

Please don’t be a hostage

And you know you have a choice.

Can’t you see you better off

Without chains around your feet?

Don’t you see how she delights

In your anguish and defeat?

Can you ever love someone

Who you can never trust?

These things, please ask yourself

This truly is a must.

Do you like being deserted?

Just when you least expect?

Has she taken all your pride away?

Have you lost your self-respect?

Do you like being cheated on?

Mistreated and ignored

By someone who deceived you

That someone you adored?

Please listen to me carefully

Turn your back and run!

True love is nearer than you think

Believe me, my dear son.

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