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Song for a Banjo Dance

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Poem Activity

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Read this poem out loud and enjoy the rhythm of the lines. Try reading lines with the word ‘shake’ in them loud and fast and full of energy. Read any lines with the word ‘sun’ in them soft and slow. See how that makes the whole poem sound and think about what the poet is saying to Liza.

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Shake your brown feet, honey,
Shake your brown feet, chile,
Shake your brown feet, honey,
Shake ’em swift and wil’–
Get way back, honey,
Do that rockin’ step.
Slide on over, darling,
Now! Come out
With your left.
Shake your brown feet, honey,
Shake ’em, honey chile.

Sun’s going down this evening–
Might never rise no mo’.
The sun’s going down this very night–
Might never rise no mo’–
So dance with swift feet, honey,
(The banjo’s sobbing low)
Dance with swift feet, honey–
Might never dance no mo’.

Shake your brown feet, Liza,
Shake ’em, Liza, chile,
Shake your brown feet, Liza,
(The music’s soft and wil’)
Shake your brown feet, Liza,
(The banjo’s sobbing low)
The sun’s going down this very night–
Might never rise no mo’.

Song for a Banjo Dance

by Langston Hughes