A Dream Deferred

Black history month is celebrated in February to bring attention to some of the world’s greatest African American poets, writers, inventors, and entrepreneurs.

Langston Hughes

As we pay tribute to these talented artists, I want to share with you one of my favorite poems by Langston Hughes.

His poem, “Harlem” (also known as A Dream Deferred) was the title of a  play, A Raisin in the Sun, written by Lorraine Hansberry and debuted on Broadway in 1959.  A Dream Deferred is a short poem but it’s filled with deep introspection and thoughtful questions.    If you’re not familiar with the poem, I’ll share it here:

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?

The questions are rhetorical in that the answer lies within the questions.

For example, the line,  “does it dry up like a raisin in the sun”…  The answer to that question epitomizes what happens when we delay, ignore or postpone our dreams.  Like a raisin that has been left in the sun to dry out, our dreams wither and lose their worth and nutritional value.

Many times our dreams get relegated to the far recesses of our minds where they dry up while we are busy supporting and encouraging others to reach their dreams.  We allow circumstances and “life” to get in the way of achieving our own dreams.

We all have dreams, large and small.  Every dream is important and worth pursuing.

If you’ve deferred your dreams, the beginning of a new year is the perfect time to revive it, rediscover it and release it out into the world.

What dreams are you deferring?

Or, are your dreams exploding?

I would love to hear what your dreams are, how you are exploding or deferring them and where you are in achieving your dreams.  Make a commitment now not to defer your dreams one moment longer.

And, for even more inspiration to live your best life, I invite you to get my latest book, Master the Genie Within: Uncover, Embrace and Celebrate the Real You.


  1. Monique Slack says:

    Thank you for sharing this poem. I had never read it. It really served as a eye opener for the stage I m in today. I think its definitely a question that we should reflect on from time to time and ask ourselves. Are you deferring your dreams? Its required for self evaluation i believe… thank you

  2. This is one of my favorites too..

    I’m happy that I’ve realized a few dreams in my life: to become a teacher, have a family, earn a Ph.D., and write a book.

    Now that I’ve retired, my dream is to help coaches and entrepreneurs realize their dreams of writing a book while I also enjoy travelling the world.

    Thanks for reminding me to keep my current dreams uppermost in my mind so I can enjoy seeing them come to fruition. Without focus and commitment to them, I know they can slip away.
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