The Weary Blues

Original Text: 
The Weary Blues (New York: A. A. Knopf, 1926). PS H874w Victoria College Library.
1Droning a drowsy syncopated tune,
2Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon,
3       I heard a Negro play.
5By the pale dull pallor of an old gas light
6       He did a lazy sway ....
7       He did a lazy sway ....
8To the tune o' those Weary Blues.
9With his ebony hands on each ivory key
10He made that poor piano moan with melody.
11       O Blues!
12Swaying to and fro on his rickety stool
13He played that sad raggy tune like a musical fool.
14         Sweet Blues!
15Coming from a black man's soul.
16       O Blues!
17In a deep song voice with a melancholy tone
18I 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."
23Thump, thump, thump, went his foot on the floor.
24He 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."
31And far into the night he crooned that tune.
32The stars went out and so did the moon.
33The singer stopped playing and went to bed
34While the Weary Blues echoed through his head.
35He slept like a rock or a man that's dead.

Notes

4] Lenox Avenue: a main street in Harlem, Manhattan. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1925
Publication Notes: 
Opportunity (May 1925): 143
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1999.