Friday, September 09, 2005

love nola like one of my own

having grown up in the south and later taught in montgomery, al, for almost 15 years, i spent a lot of time in new orleans. i remember my first plane trip was from new orleans to birmingham, after taking the train to tulane for the weekend. when my dad turned eighty, my bro and i asked how he wanted to celebrate: take a train to new orleans and do some fine eating. every spring, i travelled there for the tennessee williams festival and stayed in apartments across from le petit theatre near jackson square. i ventured there for the jazz festival, seeing baez and osburne and the indigo girls in one concert. and i travelled there many other times for the joy of being surrounded by sounds and music and landscape and architecture and people i love. in honor of that beloved city, here's a langston huges poem:

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.

From _The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes_, published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Copyright © 1994 the Estate of Langston Hughes. Linked at The Academy of American Poets.

1 comment:

Brandon said...

Chella, what a beautiful tribute. are you from Alabama or elsewhere? I thought at one point you were from North alabama. What beautiful memories.