Night Funeral in Harlem

Langston Hughes

 
     Night funeral
     In Harlem:
     Where did they get
     Them two fine cars?
Insurance man, he did not pay—
His insurance lapsed the other day—
Yet they got a satin box
for his head to lay.
     Night funeral
     In Harlem:
     Who was it sent
     That wreath of flowers?
Them flowers came
from that poor boy's friends—
They'll want flowers, too,
When they meet their ends.
     Night funeral
     in Harlem:
     Who preached that
     Black boy to his grave?
Old preacher man
Preached that boy away—
Charged Five Dollars
His girl friend had to pay.
     Night funeral
     In Harlem:
When it was all over
And the lid shut on his head
and the organ had done played
and the last prayers been said
and six pallbearers
Carried him out for dead
And off down Lenox Avenue
That long black hearse done sped,
     The street light
     At his corner
     Shined just like a tear—
That boy that they was mournin'
Was so dear, so dear
To them folks that brought the flowers,
To that girl who paid the preacher man—
It was all their tears that made
     That poor boy's
     Funeral grand.
     Night funeral
     In Harlem.
 
From The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Copyright © 1994 the Estate of Langston Hughes. Used with permission.

Poems by This Author

Dream Variations by Langston Hughes
To fling my arms wide
Dreams by Langston Hughes
Hold fast to dreams
I, Too, Sing America by Langston Hughes
I, too, sing America.
Let America Be America Again by Langston Hughes
Let America be America again.
Life is Fine by Langston Hughes
I went down to the river,
Madam and Her Madam by Langston Hughes
I worked for a woman,
Madam and the Phone Bill by Langston Hughes
You say I O.K.ed
Po' Boy Blues by Langston Hughes
When I was home de
The Negro Speaks of Rivers by Langston Hughes
I've known rivers
The Weary Blues by Langston Hughes
Droning a drowsy syncopated tune,
Theme for English B by Langston Hughes
The instructor said,
Will V-Day Be Me-Day Too? by Langston Hughes
Over There, / World War II. / Dear Fellow Americans,


Further Reading

Poems About Funerals
In Memoriam, [To Sleep I give my powers away]
by Lord Alfred Tennyson
A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Child in London
by Dylan Thomas
Age and Death
by Emma Lazarus
Because I could not stop for Death (712)
by Emily Dickinson
Bomb Crater Sky
by Lam Thi My Da
By ways remote and distant waters sped (101)
by Gaius Valerius Catullus
Driven across many nations (101)
by Gaius Valerius Catullus
For the Union Dead
by Robert Lowell
Fugue of Death
by Paul Celan
In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae
O Captain! My Captain!
by Walt Whitman
Question
by May Swenson
Song ["When I am dead, my dearest"]
by Christina Rossetti
Suddenly
by Sharon Olds
The Earth Opens and Welcomes You
by Abdellatif Laâbi
The World as Seen Through a Glass of Ice Water
by Dobby Gibson
Untitled [This is what was bequeathed us]
by Gregory Orr
What Came to Me
by Jane Kenyon
Poems about Night
A Clear Midnight
by Walt Whitman
Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight
by Vachel Lindsay
Acquainted with the Night
by Robert Frost
At Deep Midnight
by Minnie Bruce Pratt
At Night
by Yone Noguchi
At Night the States
by Alice Notley
Breaking Across Us Now
by Katie Ford
Flying at Night
by Ted Kooser
Hard Night
by Christian Wiman
Hellish Night
by Arthur Rimbaud
Here and Now
by Stephen Dunn
Hymn to the Night
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
In the City of Night
by John Gould Fletcher
La Noche
by Anselm Hollo
Last
by Maxine Scates
Late Night Ode
by J. D. McClatchy
Let Evening Come
by Jane Kenyon
Meeting at Night
by Robert Browning
Mother Night
by James Weldon Johnson
Night
by Carsten René Nielsen
Night Air
by C. Dale Young
Night Blooming Jasmine
by Giovanni Pascoli
Night Drafts
by Tony Sanders
Night Songs
by Thomas Kinsella
Nights On The Peninsula
by D. Nurkse
On a Night Like This
by Michael Teig
One Night
by Mathias Svalina
Radar Data #12
by Lytton Smith
Rhapsody on a Windy Night
by T. S. Eliot
Sawdust
by Sharon Bryan
Ships That Pass in the Night
by Paul Laurence Dunbar
Summer Night, Riverside
by Sara Teasdale
Summer Stars
by Carl Sandburg
The First Night
by Billy Collins
The Sun Has Long Been Set
by William Wordsworth
To Night
by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Unity
by Pablo Neruda
Window
by Carl Sandburg