I was so sick last night, I

This poem by Langston Hughes, entitled “Morning After” takes the classis structure of a blues song and makes a poem of it. So it is truly a crossover between two art forms. Imagine Muddy Waters or Bo Diddley singing these words in a rasping voice to the sound of a blues guitar…

And of course, the subject matter is clearly worthy of the blues, describing the aftermath of a drunken binge.

Morning After

I was so sick last night I
Didn’t hardly know my mind.
So sick last night I
Didn’t know my mind.
I drunk some bad licker that
Almost made me blind.

Had a dream last night I
Thought I was in hell.
I drempt last night I
Thought I was in hell.
Woke up and looked around me—
Babe, your mouth was open like a well.

I said, Baby! Baby!
Please don’t snore so loud.
Baby! Please!
Please don’t snore so loud.
You jest a little bit o’ woman but you
Sound like a great big crowd.


From <http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/177394&gt;


Each stanza follows the blues format of a basic idea, repeated with a slight variation, followed up by a consequence or meaning to reinforce the pain and hardship of the situation. In the first stanza, the poet is senselessly drunk, and blames the bad liquor he must have drunk. In the second stanza, he describes the nightmares brought on by the drunken stupor and then is woken by something to see his girl’s mouth open by his side. The third stanza reveals why he has woken, explaining the second stanza – his girl is snoring loudly. This is really the stuff of the blues, and whoever has gone through the stages of drunkenness and hangover will recognize what the poet describes. We can both laugh at the situation and empathize with it.

I like this poem for expressing poetically a situation I have lived through; for faithfully taking on a format from a different genre – the blues; and for infusing it with a real sense of human experience.


The Poetry Dude


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