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?
--Langston Hughes (1902-1967) American Writer, Poet and Essayist.
Above: A sagging barn containing one deferred dream in Unicoi County, TN.
To place this poem (entitled "Harlem") in its intended context, hear it read by actor Danny Glover with images of the Civil Rights struggle in the 1950s and 60s.