Langston Hughes

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Negro Speaks of Rivers
by Langston Hughes

I've known rivers:
I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins
My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the Pyramids above.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down to New Orleans, and I've seen its muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I've known rivers:
Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.


I was going to blog about somethings else today, but I was inspired by Rosianna's video about first lines of poems to post my own favorite poem, The Negro Speaks of Rivers. I first read Langston Hughes when I was fourteen years old. I felt like his words were wrapping around my soul. I've carried them with me ever since.


A note on the text: So far as I know The Negro Speaks of Rivers is in the public domain, and thus I have included the entire poem above. It was first published in 1921. For more information on Langston Hughes and his poems, this is a great place to start.

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