THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE
LANGSTON HUGHES (1902-1967) 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.
THE BALLAD OF THE LANDLORD
Landlord, landlord, My roof has sprung a leak. Don't you 'member I told you about it Way last week? Landlord, landlord, These steps is broken down. When you come up yourself It's a wonder you don't fall down. Ten Bucks you say I owe you? Ten Bucks you say is due? Well, that's Ten Bucks more'n I'll pay you Till you fix this house up new. What? You gonna get eviction orders? You gonna cut off my heat? You gonna take my furniture and Throw it in the street? Um-huh! You talking high and mighty. Talk on—till you get through. You ain't gonna be able to say a word If I land my fist on you. Police! Police! Come and get this man! He's trying to ruin the government And overturn the land! Copper's whistle! Patrol bell! Arrest. Precinct Station. Iron cell. Headlines in press: MAN THREATENS LANDLORD TENANT HELD NO BAIL JUDGE GIVES NEGRO 90 DAYS IN COUNTY JAIL
SUBWAY RUSH HOUR DREAM VARIATIONS
To fling my arms wide In some place of the sun, To whirl and to dance Till the white day is done. Then rest at cool evening Beneath a tall tree While night comes on gently, Dark like me-That is my dream! To fling my arms wide In the face of the sun, Dance! Whirl! Whirl! Till the quick day is done. Rest at pale evening . . . A tall, slim tree . . . Night coming tenderly Black like me. Mingled breath and smell so... [continues]
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