My Poem

Today in Seminar, all the students received a poem to study and recite for the next class.  While Professor Kahan was giving out the poems, I was eagerly waiting for mine.  In all honesty, I was hoping for a comical poem and was a bit disappointed when I was given, Night Funeral in Harlem by Langston Hughes.  Fortunately, this poem was an enjoyable read and I had a good time analyzing it.

From reading the poem over and over, I developed a brief analysis.  I think the poem was about a poor family or group of friends in Harlem that were not able to afford life insurance.  Since they could not pay for life insurance, they were not able to provide a professional funeral service for a loved one that passed away.  Instead, the friends of the loved one paid for a cheap funeral service in which they did the majority of the work.  Even though the event was not an expensive one, it was still a highly meaningful funeral because the friends of the loved one came together to mourn his death.  Essentially, I think the poem portrayed that as long as there were loved ones to mourn the death of a friend or family member, the financial aspect of a funeral held little significance.  In addition, since Hughes placed the setting of the poem in Harlem, he probably thought that funerals such as these commonly occurred in Harlem communities.

I was surprised that I enjoyed reading this poem so much.  Usually, I dislike reading poems but since we started going over poetry in Seminar, my thoughts on this medium are changing.