Wednesday, April 8, 2015

harlem hopscotch by Maya Angelou

I'm planning for our Poetry Blog Hop that will be live this Friday! As I write my poetry unit, I came across this poem that I really like....

Harlem Hopscotch
by: Maya Angelou

One foot down, then hop! It's hot.
    Good things for the ones that's got.
Another jump, not to the left.
    Everybody for hisself.

In the air, now both feet down.
    Since you black, don't stick around.

Food is gone, the rent is due.
    Curse and cry and then jump two.
All the people out of work.
    Hold for three, then twist and jerk.
Cross the line, they count you out.
    That's what hopping's all about.

Both feet flat, the game is done.
    They think I lost, I think I won.

This poem is from a collection of poems in this book:

It's got an awesome collection of poetry and music, with a CD of many of the authors reading their work. Highly recommended!

What's your take on Harlem Hopscotch? I'm currently writing plans about interpretation & close reading...I picked this poem because initially I thought it was pretty shallow, but then the more I read it, the more I see how much deeper it goes.

Obviously it's talking about having work, making enough money to pay the bills and feed the family - how life is a game - sometimes you're up and winning, sometimes it's harder...

Traces of racism? (since you black, don't stick around)

What about that last line: They think I lost, I think I won.

What's your take on it? I'd love more input on this one!

1 comment:

  1. I think Racism is a HUGE theme in this poem. On first read, it's meant to come off like a childhood game. However, Harlem=Poverty. "Good things for the ones that got"-The disparities between rich and poor. The Hopscotch is a symbol for Life. Pay closer attention to the lines and how they might relate to racism. The game of life is hard. Do we all get to move through it the same way? Either way, the lesson is to keep moving through the struggle. Awesome poem for a close read!


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