A Review: The Negro Speaks of Rivers by Langston Hughes.


This poem by Langston Hughes brings something that makes it look as if gold is poured into my veins…maybe it’s because I love poetry. There is metaphor and imagery this poem carries that makes it one of my best.

I have tried to check its abstracts and the elements that makes it a short lasting poem, classic into the future. The poem is simply antiquity. The poet speaks of rivers, literal and abstract rivers in my opinion. The literal seem to be the rivers known in Africa as great rivers” the ‘Congo’ and the ‘Nile’, and introduced one of the known rivers in the world, the ‘Mississippi’.

But, the refrain: ‘I’ve known rivers’ creates a turn in my opinion. It looks like a wailing, a kind of suffering that has endured like the length of a river. So, the poet may have shifted from praising the rivers in Africa, to the slave experiences of Africa, before it was broken as seen in the movie ‘AMISTAD’.

Even the repetition of the first pronoun ‘I’, repeated in the poem, may mean that, that African anguish reached him(the Poet). He was simply saying, this rivers reached me too, since his ancestors were shipped to America and Europe when that slave trade began.

Refrain and repetition, introduces an abstract into the poem, and made the poem rich with images, that makes me want to visit the poem again and again.

Read here: http://allpoetry.com/The-Negro-Speaks-Of-Rivers

Dike Dyke Williams.

(c). Dyke Williams


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