This poem is very easy to relate to for many people I think because everyone makes mistakes and life is not as easy as it seems. Problems come up, deaths, sickness, and more. This poem i think shows the stages of life from someone who has experience with these problems.
The translation below is what I think of what the poem means in modern English.
The mom is getting ready to tell the son how to deal with life when she is not around and he has to deal by himself.
Mother to Son (Translation)
Well I will tell you son
Life has not been a perfect climb
It had points
And splinters ( hardships)
Boards torn up
Bare all alone to deal on my own
I have been climbing
And reaching stopping points
Reaching a standstill point
Going in the dark (blindly)
There has not been any light (help)
So son don't turn back( never give up)
Don't give up or quit
Keep going, carry on with vigor
Because you will find that it is hard
Don't fall down because of tiredness
But look honey, even I am still climbing
I am still going and I have not given up
And life for me has been hard and not perfect.
The crystal stair means that climbing up was not perfect for her. The crystal is a smooth thong so when Langston Hughes said that it means that life was not perfect, and the mother has climbed and not given up even though her life has been a really hard thing to carry on.