My first thought about the poem "A Negro Speaks of Rivers," is the message the poem sends. The title itself makes me think that Langston Hughes is writing about the memories of slave and their different societies, which presents in history. In the second line of Mr. Hughes poem "I known rivers as ancient as the world," he wanted to show the different societies were present since the first days of the early civilization. .
The word river in the poem to me means the path of each society and there locations. The speaker mention the Euphrates, the Congo, and the Mississippi rivers. These names represent the different times in history and the location of each society mentioned in the poem. The image of a river releases the thought of old, powerful, calming and sentimental feeling of freedom and relaxation. .
What makes the poem interesting is its appeal of the title and the way he uses his words to complicate the poem. In the poem speaker said "I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young," there is a feeling that blacks or slaves are describing their freedoms and innocence. In another line the speaker says, "I heard the singing of Mississippi when Abraham Lincoln went down to New Orleans, and I have seen its muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset." This line seems like the fall of slavery and the new freedom achieved. .
"I" in each sentence represents each society as a whole and I felt the speaker wanted to express in voices of each society. This poem has given me a new perspective towards slavery and its culture as well as the difficulties that they have tolerated. "I have know rivers, Ancient dusky river," is the new generations describing the history of slaves who were before our time. .
"My soul has grown deep like the rivers," I feel this line is describing the cultures and their influence in the way we live today. The most distinctive characteristic about the poem is the use of words to express its difficulty.