© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Weary Blues

The Weary Blues


by Langston Hughes

Lines 6-11 Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Lines 6-8

He did a lazy sway....
He did a lazy sway....
To the tune o' those Weary Blues

  • We've got those indents again. Take these lines slow and lazy. Repeating the lines gives a back and forth feeling, just like the singer is swaying back and forth.
  • Also, this part is like a line that repeats in a blues song. This is similar to the refrain in a poem, but not exactly.
  • Notice how Hughes dropped the "f" from the end of the word "of." He's trying to write like people talk.
  • "The Weary Blues" is the name of the song that the musician is playing.

Lines 9-11

With his ebony hands on each ivory key
He made that poor piano moan with melody.
O Blues!

  • The musician is a pianist and he's playing all up and down the piano keyboard here. He's just wailing on the piano like Jimi Hendrix played guitar at Woodstock.
  • "Ebony" means a few different things. Here it is describing the dark, lustrous color of the piano player's hands, but it also brings to mind the ebony wood that was used to make the black keys on a piano. Likewise, ivory (elephant's tusk) was used to make the white keys on the piano.
  • It's almost like the piano player is melting into his instrument.
  • In line 10, the musician makes the piano moan, just like it was alive with the music.
  • It's not clear who is saying "O Blues!" It might be the speaker shouting out during the song, or the musician while performing for his audiences.
  • Although this "O Blues!" is indented, it is not enjambment, because "O Blues!" doesn't carry the thought from the previous line.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...