Langston Hughes in 1925

The Negro Speaks of Rivers
[originally published in Crisis magazine, June 1921]

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 bathe 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.

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