My old man’s a white old man
And my old mother’s black.
If ever I cursed my white old man
I take my curses back.
If ever I cursed my black old mother
And wished she were in hell,
I’m sorry for that evil wish
And now I wish her well.
My old man died in a fine big house.
My ma died in a shack.
I wonder where I’m gonna die,
Being neither white nor black?
by Langston Hughes (1902-1967)
A blues poem emulates the blues music that evolved from African American slave songs in the late 19th century.
Common features of the blues poem include a loose but distinct rhythm, a common vernacular and a simple rhyme scheme with variable refrains.
Blues almost always addresses some form of loss or hardship.
Langston Hughes, a pioneer and master of blues poetry, here demonstrates a liberal usage of this technique in order to address the complexities of his heredity.