The Negro Speaks of Rivers The poem that I am explicating is “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”. The poem doesn’t really have a conflict but rather a message that tells us the connection between the speaker and some famous rivers. I will break down the poem line by line to help you understand it the way I do. “I’ve known rivers” The speaker is telling us he has known rivers and the way he says it makes us feel as though much time has passed since our speaker first encountered these rivers.
If he would have said “l know rivers,” it ould have made it seem like he Just knows a little about them. The way he uses “known rivers” suggests he has spent some quality time with rivers it shows that he and rivers are good friends. “I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins” The speaker is saying that the rivers he’s known are as old as the world its self and since the rivers are as old as the world of course their going to be older then the human race. My soul has grown deep like he rivers” The speaker is telling us that his soul has become as deep as these ancient rivers. If his soul has become deep like rivers then he has been through and experienced a lot in his lifetime. Your soul doesn’t get deep from easy living it get deeps from hardship, life lessons, and gaining wisdom. “l bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young” The speaker has bathed and cleansed himself in the Euphrates river in early mornings Just as the sun was beginning to rise and it seems he has done this multiple times. built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep” The speaker is lulled to sleep every night by the sounds of the great Congo river Just as a young child is lulled to sleep by its parents. “l looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it” The speaker is saying that he looked at the Nile and decided to build the great pyramids in Egypt. “l heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down to New Orleans” The speaker has heard the Mississippi River sing when Abraham Lincoln came to visit New Orleans. And I’ve seen its uddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset” The Mississippi is known as a muddy river and the speaker has seen this muddy river transform into a golden river in the setting sun. “I’ve known rivers” Once again we are getting told that the speaker has known rivers. “Ancient, dusky rivers” He is once again informing us on the age of these rivers and saying that these rivers have a darker side them also. “My soul has grown deep like the rivers” He once again lets us know that his soul has gotten deep like the rivers. By Nightcrawlerl 914