"My soul has grown deep like the rivers."

Langston Hughes.jpg

The Negro Speaks Of Rivers

by Langston Hughes


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.

by Langston Hughes

'The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes' by Langston Hughes. (Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Copyright © 1994 the Estate of Langston Hughes.)


Poem as Friend to Roy

Roy McFarlane.jpg
The Negro Speaks Of Riversby Langston Hughes

In this episode of our podcast, you will hear Roy Mcfarlane about the poem that has been a friend to him: 'The Negro Speaks of Rivers' by Langston Hughes.

We are delighted to feature 'The Negro Speaks of Rivers' in this episode and would like to thank Harold Ober Associates for allowing us to use it in this way. You can read the poem in 'Vintage Hughes' published by Penguin Random House:


Roy visited The Poetry Exchange at the Festival in a Factory at the Emma Bridgewater factory in Stoke-on-Trent. We’re very grateful to the Festival in a Factory and Emma Bridgewater for hosting us so warmly.


Roy McFarlane is a poet and his latest collection, 'The Healing Next Time' is available from Nine Arches Press:


You can find out more about Roy and his work at his website:


Roy is in conversation with The Poetry Exchange team members, Fiona Bennett and Al Snell.

'The Negro Speaks of Rivers' is read by Fiona Bennett.


We talk to people about the poem that has been a friend to them.

In exchange we create a gift for them, a bespoke reading of their chosen poem inspired by the conversation. Our award-winning podcast shares these unique and powerful stories of connection with people across the world. 


We set up an intimate environment for these conversations at festivals, in arts, cultural and public spaces across the country. We also hold exchanges ‘long distance’. Our visitors come from all walks of life and we also feature well-known personalities such as Andrew Scott, Maxine Peake, Roy McFarlane and Paterson Joseph.