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.
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- by (James Mercer) Langston Hughes (1902 - 1967), "Mother to son", appears in The Weary Blues, first published 1926 [author's text not yet checked against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by Hall Johnson (1888 - 1970), "Mother to son", published 1970 [ medium-high voice and piano ] [sung text not yet checked]
- by Frances Thomas , "No crystal stair", published 1957 [ voice and piano ] [sung text not yet checked]
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website: 2008-08-27
Line count: 20
Word count: 99