Poetry ended up being my passion after I dropped in love v Walter de la Mare's "Silver" in Mrs. Edna Pickett's sophomore English course circa 1962.

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Introduction and also Excerpt from “Life is Fine"

Langston Hughes' "Life is Fine" plays the end in 6 stanzas v a variable refrain complying with each 2 stanzas. The template of this poem/blues song is a lover's lament, one of Hughes' finer works

Life is Fine

I went under to the river, I set down on the bank. I tried to think however couldn’t, So ns jumped in and also sank.

I come up once and also hollered! I come up twice and also cried! If the water hadn’t a-been so cold i might’ve sunk and died.

But it to be Cold in that water! It to be cold!. . .

To review the rest of Langston Hughes’ poem, you re welcome visit, “Life is Fine,” in ~ the Academy of American Poets.

Reading the "Life is Fine"


This poem has actually the sound and sense that a rhythm and blues song, a type that the Harlem Renaissance poet offered often and well.

First Stanza: drown Attempt

I went down to the river, I set down ~ above the bank. Ns tried to think however couldn’t, So i jumped in and sank.

The first stanza dramatizes the speaker/singer's effort to commit self-destruction by drowning. After going "down come the river," the speak sits under to think things over. He finds the he can not think, so he abruptly jumps into the river.

Second Stanza: saved by Cold

I come up once and also hollered! I come up twice and also cried! If that water hadn’t a-been for this reason cold ns might’ve sunk and also died.

In the 2nd stanza, the speak dramatizes the concept that a drowning human being comes up three times before sinking permanently beneath the water. He says that the first time he come up, that "hollered!" the does not report what the vocalized no one to whom he can have been "hollering."

The speaker/singer continues to the second time he came up, and that time that "cried!" the is growing an ext urgent in his painful condition. Yet instead that sinking a third time, the speaker jumps out of the water for the strange factor that the water was so cold. His dedication to self-destruction is impeded by the uncomfortable of having actually to endure the cold water.

First Refrain: Comedy Drama

But it was Cold in that water! It to be cold!

The surprising rotate of occasions is emphasized by the next line, which serves together a refrain, and also at this point, the reader becomes mindful of the comic impact that the speaker is infusing into his drama.

The speaker/singer repeats the truth that the water was cold. The cold water has actually actually become his best friend at that moment by saving him from drowning. That hops the end of the river, not due to the fact that he want to live but simply because he can not be afflicted with the discomfort of the cold water.

Third Stanza: one more Suicide Attempt

I took the elevator sixteen floors over the ground. I thought about my baby and thought I would certainly jump down.

The speaker/singer proceeds his search for a comfortable technique of suicide. The takes an elevator up the 16th floor that a high building. That remembers the he is there due to the fact that his girl jilted him, and also he intends to death himself by jumping indigenous the 16 floor that the building.

Fourth Stanza: saved by Height

I stand there and also I hollered! i stood there and I cried! If that hadn’t a-been so high i might’ve jumped and also died.

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Again, the same frame of mind claims him, and also just as he had done in the cold flow water, he stands there "holler" and "cry." This time the friend that keeps him from finishing his life is the reality that the structure is "so high."

Second Refrain: high Building

But it was High up there! It was high!

Once again, the stop emphasizes the difficulty with jumping turn off the building. It was high. The speaker can not experience the cold, and now he cannot endure the height.

Fifth Stanza: Born come Live

So because I’m still right here livin’, ns guess I will live on. Ns could’ve died for love— but for livin’ ns was born