Langston Hughes: Poems

Langston Hughes: Poems Summary and Analysis of "April Rain Song"


The speaker instructs the reader to let the rain kiss you, let the “silver liquid drops” fall on your head and sing you a lullaby. The rain creates quiet pools on the sidewalk and streaming pools in the gutter. It also plays a little song on the rooftop in the evening. The speaker concludes, “And I love the rain.”


“April Rain Song” is a short and sweet poem that does not fit easily into any particular category within Langston Hughes's oeuvre. It is not about the Harlem community, the American Dream, racial discrimination, or jazz and blues. It a simple poetic celebration of the rain. This poem is a stripped down example of Langston Hughes's extraordinary poetic skill. He brings his unique style and lyricism to every subject he tackles, whether it is the struggles of segregation of his pleasure during a soft spring shower.

Throughout the poem, Hughes personifies the rain. “Let the rain kiss you,” he decrees, giving the rain a sweet, charming, and gentle personality emphasized by his subsequent word choices like “silver” “lullaby” “still” “little.” Rain is not forceful or uncomfortable, rather, it showers "you" in “silver liquid drops” and sings a song. The poet then describes the rain's effects on the man-made city, pooling in sidewalks and in gutters, and tapping a “little sleep song” on the roof at night. In this poem, rain offers a sense of comfort and security. Many readers can relate to the pleasant sensation of falling asleep, safe and warm, while listening to the rain pattering outside.

Even though Hughes does not directly reference Harlem in "April Rain Song," he did live and work there during the time that he would have written this poem. Therefore, it is likely that he was inspired to write the poem while watching the rain fall down on the great metropolitan city, altering its regular chaos and patterns. Hughes is unequivocal in his feelings, ending the poem with “And I love the rain.” Rain is also typically a poetic symbol of rebirth - it is the nourishment that allows flowers to bloom, and in a Biblical context, it connotes baptism - a new beginning.

It is possible to read into this poem and analyze it to infer that Hughes is referring obliquely to a transition in his own life. There is no proof to support or deny this, but it is also possible that Hughes wrote "April Rain Song" simply because he was inspired by a simple rain shower and wanted to share his delight with his readers.