Langston Hughes “Merry Christmas”

The following poem was written by Langston Hughes. He was an instrumental African during the Harlem Renaissance, a period in the 1920s following the Garvey Movement when African culture blossomed, especially through poetry, short stories and novels, all with profound political content. The Communist Party USA co-opted a number of these influential individuals, including Hughes, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Paul Robeson, and others.

MERRY CHRISTMAS
by Langston Hughes
Published In New Masses (Dec. 1930)

Merry Christmas, China
From the gun-boats in the river,
Ten-inch shells for Christmas gifts,
And peace on earth forever.
Merry Christmas, India,
To Gandhi in his cell,
From righteous Christian England,
Ring out, bright Christmas bell!
Ring Merry Christmas, Africa,
From Cairo to the Cape!
Ring Hallehuiah! Praise the Lord!
(For murder and rape.)
Ring Merry Christmas, Haiti!
(And drown the voodoo drums –
We'll rob you to the Christian hymns
Until the next Christ comes.)
Ring Merry Christmas, Cuba!
(While Yankee domination
Keeps a nice fat president
In a little half-starved nation.)
And to you down-and-outers,
("Due to economic laws")
Oh, eat, drink, and be merry
With a bread-line Santa Claus –
While all the world hails Christmas,
While all the church bells sway!
While, better still, the Christian guns
Proclaim this joyous day!
While holy steel that makes us strong
Spits forth a mighty Yuletide song:
SHOOT Merry Christmas everywhere!
Let Merry Christmas GAS the air!

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