I've known rivers
Language: English 
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.

About the headline (FAQ)

Confirmed with Mein dunklen Hände. Moderne Negerlyrik in Original und Nachdichtung, herausgegeben und übertragen von Eva Hesse und Paridam von dem Knesebeck, München: Nymphenburger Verlag, 1953, page 18.

Note: all indented lines were attached to the previous line in the original publication; the lines have been broken to fit on the screen.

First published in Crisis, June 1921.


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 13
Word count: 103