A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes

A bout of writing, and I ran out of cigarettes. Out of all nights. Why do I do this to myself.

A Dream Deferred
Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?



  1. A dream deferred is just that :deferred, until the mistakes, setbacks, hurts , bad habits and hang-ups have been addressed positively, then the dream may have freedom to become a reality. Darryl Riley

  2. this is one of my favorite poems. i was looking for it somewhere online to post to my Facebook page – in honor of National Poetry Month. i am so glad to have stumbled upon your site. that mary oliver quote at the top hits hard, incredible: Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life? ― Mary Oliver

  3. Inspiration comes from a place of freedom in expressing our own stories of creation. Movement and artistic grace is born from this feeling. It is a time that we can rejoice knowing we are united with the rest of the world and universe, while knowing in the stillness of our still beating hearts that we are as God’s children, and have been given this inspiration so that our voices may rise above our grief and reach into heaven.

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