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?
I think this poem was written about the struggle of black Americans for equality, etc. The "dream" refers to the dreams of prosperity and equal housing and education. Indeed, the Brown vs. Board of Education case declared school segregation unconstitutional, and said it should be abolished "with all deliberate speed"... and that took an awfully long time. That would be a really great explanation of the "deferral" referred to here, except that the case happened in 1954 and the poem was written in 1951. Still, such lines had been used before the case, so it still makes sense.
This was a nodeshell, if you can believe such a thing.
The poem also appears under A Montage of a Dream Deferred; presumably this nodeshell was created by mistake on the way to making that node. But I think people are likely to look for it under this as well.