Monday, December 05, 2005

poem 13 hughes!

Life is Fine
by Langston Hughes

I went down to the river,
I set down on the bank.
I tried to think but couldn't,
So I jumped in and sank.

I came up once and hollered!
I came up twice and cried!
If that water hadn't a-been so cold
I might've sunk and died.

But it was Cold in that water! It was cold!

I took the elevator
Sixteen floors above the ground.
I thought about my baby
And thought I would jump down.

I stood there and I hollered!
I stood there and I cried!
If it hadn't a-been so high
I might've jumped and died.

But it was High up there! It was high!

So since I'm still here livin',
I guess I will live on.
I could've died for love--
But for livin' I was born

Though you may hear me holler,
And you may see me cry--
I'll be dogged, sweet baby,
If you gonna see me die.

Life is fine! Fine as wine! Life is fine!

I had to laugh when I read the first stanza of this poem. I have known Hughes as a great writer for most of my life, and the voice of this poem seemed so elementary at first. After working my way thorugh it I realized that there was much more to it. The speaker tells about how he tried to kill himself, both in the under water, and in the air, but could not bring himself to do it. He comes to the conclusion, that though life may be hard at times, even if a lost love may cause grief to bare down on you, it is never worth taking your life. Even though it may be a senitive subject, Hughes's writing almost evokes a trite quality to the emotions that are supposedly strong enough for him to comtemplate killing himself. Though in the end, after submerging himself in water and peering over the edge of a tall building, the speaker comes to the conclusion that it would be ridiculous for him to take his own life, now matter how much emotional pain he was in.

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