1. Young-Mason, Jeanine EdD, RN, CS, FAAN

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Langston Hughes 1901-1967


Hold fast to dreams


For if dreams die


Life is a broken-winged bird


That cannot fly.


Hold fast to dreams


For when dreams go


Life is a barren field


Frozen in snow.1


"Dreams" is an early poem by Langston Hughes, one of the leaders of the 1920 art and literary movement known as the Harlem Renaissance. First published in the magazine "The World Tomorrow" in 1923, it explores the theme that would echo throughout Hughes's world, the sustaining power of dreams (especially in the face of difficult reality) and the problem that arises when dreams are thwarted or abandoned. The poem delivers an urgent warning never to let dreams die."2


Hughes is speaking directly to all humanity with a dire warning. He implores us to not forsake our dreams, fantasies, illusions, and imaginative visions-for to do so robs our soul of hope. Life becomes a barren existence "frozen in snow."


Although these words resonate profoundly after the recent past and the present year of surviving the pandemic with unimaginable grief and sorrow, they are meant for all time. As clinicians, we have the gift of an enlightened mandate-that this wisdom be included in all of our professional interactions and in our own personal lives.




1. Langston Hughes (1901 - 1967). Accessed April 4, 2022. [Context Link]


2. Accessed April 5, 2022. [Context Link]