poet Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes

#6 on top 500 poets

The Negro Speaks Of Rivers

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 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.

Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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Comments about The Negro Speaks Of Rivers by Langston Hughes

  • Michael WalkerMichael Walker (7/25/2019 10:57:00 PM)

    I have always loved 'The Negro Speaks of Rivers', even though Hughes evidently wrote it in a very short time on a table napkin. ' I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln/ Went down to New Orleans'. A dazzling line.

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  • Seema JayaramanSeema Jayaraman (9/29/2015 8:39:00 PM)

    I especially liked the lines I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the
    flow of human blood in human veins. makes me reflect on how ancient life and life's challenges are..it inspires me to write on the rivers I have touched in my life.

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  • Kelly Kelley (1/13/2014 7:29:00 PM)

    My history teacher read this poem to the class when we were learning about to roaring 20's and the Harlem Renaissance, & it was so powerful, it made me think about what blacks had to do to get to where they are today!

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  • William Schulte (1/31/2013 1:32:00 AM)

    I passed by the Langston Hughes center in Seattle but this poem made it special.

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  • Elena Alley (1/20/2009 11:55:00 PM)

    I think this poem says it all. It eludes to the beginning of time, the trials, and now. It captures the cohesion we all have now regardless of race. 'The Negro Speaks of Rivers' has always been my favorite poem. I Just Love it! ! ! ! BTW, I am Navajo/Hispanic, but I heard it for the first time in college, that is when I fell in love with it. I hope you love it like I do!

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  • Corey Trotter (12/13/2007 9:42:00 PM)

    this poem says alot about those he came across and learn from, it's very deep

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  • Michael Whitt (12/9/2005 3:22:00 PM)

    no words for this poem. It's simply beautiful

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3,5 out of 5
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Read poems about / on: sunset, sleep, world, river