The Weary Blues


The Weary Blues


"The Weary Blues" is a poem by Langston Hughes, a poet commonly considered to be a major figure in the Harlem Renaissance, and one of the founding members of the jazz poetry movement. The poem captures the feeling and spirit of a jazz club by painting a vivid and colorful scene of a jazz performance. It also provides the unexpected perspective of a jazz performer who is lamenting various conditions in his life. Jazz, while often conceived as a fun and upbeat music form, here plays the role of a cathartic art form for the black performer to deal with his difficult life experiences. This casts a more sinister light on the role of jazz.


Langston Hughes




Hughes, Langston. The Weary Blues. 1923. Accessed at:


1 Droning a drowsy syncopated tune,
2 Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon,
3 I heard a Negro play.
4 Down on Lenox Avenue the other night
5 By the pale dull pallor of an old gas light
6 He did a lazy sway ....
7 He did a lazy sway ....
8 To the tune o' those Weary Blues.
9 With his ebony hands on each ivory key
10 He made that poor piano moan with melody.
11 O Blues!
12 Swaying to and fro on his rickety stool
13 He played that sad raggy tune like a musical fool.
14 Sweet Blues!
15 Coming from a black man's soul.
16 O Blues!
17 In a deep song voice with a melancholy tone
18 I heard that Negro sing, that old piano moan--
19 "Ain't got nobody in all this world,
20 Ain't got nobody but ma self.
21 I's gwine to quit ma frownin'
22 And put ma troubles on the shelf."
23 Thump, thump, thump, went his foot on the floor.
24 He played a few chords then he sang some more--
25 "I got the Weary Blues
26 And I can't be satisfied.
27 Got the Weary Blues
28 And can't be satisfied--
29 I ain't happy no mo'
30 And I wish that I had died."
31 And far into the night he crooned that tune.
32 The stars went out and so did the moon.
33 The singer stopped playing and went to bed
34 While the Weary Blues echoed through his head.
35 He slept like a rock or a man that's dead.


Screen shot 2010-12-05 at 4.03.59 PM.png



Langston Hughes, “The Weary Blues,” Inbetween Peoples, accessed September 24, 2020,