The Negro Speaks of Rivers

I've known rivers:
I've know 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               
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me          
to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyra-
mids 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.

From The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, edited by Arnold Rampersad (New
York:  Alfred A. Knopf, 1994), p. 23. 

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