Langston Hughes

5 B H I M T


I’ m all alone in this world, she said,
Ain’ t got nobody to share my bed,
Ain’ t got nobody to hold my hand —
The truth of the matter’ s
I ain’ t got no man.

Big Boy opened his mouth and said,
Trouble with you is
You ain’ t got no head!
If you had a head and used your mind
You could have me with you
All the time.

She answered, Babe, what must I do?

Mother to Son

Well, son, I’ ll tell you:
Life for me ain’ t been no crystal stair.
It’ s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor —
But all the time
I’ se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’ s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’ t been no light.
So boy, don’ t you turn back.
Don’ t you set down on the steps
’ Cause you finds it’ s kinder hard.
Don’ t you fall now —
For I’ se still goin’, honey,

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.