03 October, 2012

{poetically plagiarized} 12: Hughes

The Negro Speaks of Rivers
For my friend Paul ...

The Negro Speaks of Rivers, considered Langston Hughes' signature poem, was written in 1920, first published in 1921, and collected in his first book of poetry, The Weary Blues, in 1926.

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 danced in the Nile when I was old.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
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.