The Weary Blues
by Langston Hughes
OK, we know we're not the first ones to compare poetry to music, but you can't read three lines of "The Weary Blues" without tripping over something related to music. Music is a metaphor for those abstract feelings that we just can't say straight out. Blues and jazz are all about expressing those complex emotions through sound and tone. Langston Hughes beefs up the musicality by using a lot of internal and end rhyme, alliteration, consonance, and assonance. He also chose a lot of words that sound like what they describe.
- Line 1: The long O sounds of "droning" and "drowsy" mimic a yawning sound that stands in contrast to the hard Ts and Cs of "syncopated tune" that mimic the syncopated rhythms of ragtime music. Also, those two beginning D sounds are called alliteration.
- Lines 6-7: Like the Os in Line 1, the long As of "a lazy sway" can really get drawn out in a reading.
- Lines 23: "Thump, thump, thump" is an example of onomatopoeia, in that it mimics a foot hitting the floor.