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.

  • Langston Hughes, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” from Collected Poems. Copyright © 1994 by The Estate of Langston Hughes. Reprinted with the permission of Harold Ober Associates Incorporated.

  • Source: Selected Poems (Vintage Books, 1987)

Poet Bio

What People are Saying

"I was amazed at the different perspectives that people take regarding poetry and the multiple interpretations that can be effectively conveyed from one single poem."
Sydney Bayless
2017 AR POL Champion