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Hungry Child

Hungry Child
by Langston Hughes

Hungry Child, I didn’t make this world for you
You didn’t buy any stocks in my railroads
You didn’t invest in my corporations
Where are your shares in Standard Oil ?
I made the world for the rich and the will-be-rich,
And for the always-have-been rich.
I didn’t make this world for you,
Not for you, hungry child, not for you.

I just discovered this written work, by Langston Hughes, via a recording of Frederic Rzewski’s musical arrangement sung by Marianne Pousseur. It’s part of an exceptional album of mostly modern art songs, recorded in unconventional locations and sung by Pousseur. This particular piece was sung in a primary school, and right at the end of the last line, one can hear the school bell ring. The sounds of birds and wind through trees emerge thereafter, and the track slides into Pousseur singing the gorgeous John Cage piece “Experience N°2”, adapted from an e.e. cummings poem  (“… at moments when the glassy darkness holds the genuine appreciation of your smile ; (it was through tears always) and silence moulds such strangeness as was mine a little while …”).

After doing some very brief research on the Hughes piece, I discovered that it is supposed to be “God” speaking to the hungry child. I think it’s safe to say this could also be society, or modern humanity, speaking to him or her, of all the facets and fabricated infrastructures with which the “humanness” of our human race is incongruent.

Let it all come down. Let it all go down, and out.
Let it all come back anew.