Feet o' Jesus, Langston Hughes: Summary & Analysis

"Feet o' Jesus" by Langston Hughes is a poignant and spiritually evocative poem that speaks to themes of sorrow, faith, and the desire for divine intervention. The poem portrays the speaker's plea for mercy and guidance from Jesus in the face of overwhelming sorrow. Through its imagery and emotional resonance, the poem conveys the depth of the speaker's connection to their faith and the comfort they seek from their spiritual beliefs.

Feet o' Jesus by Langston Hughes

At the feet o' Jesus,
Sorrow like a sea.
Lordy, let yo' mercy
Come driftin' down on me.
At the feet o' Jesus
At yo' feet I stand.
O, ma little Jesus,
Please reach out yo' hand.


"Feet o' Jesus" conveys the speaker's longing for solace and divine intervention in the midst of their sorrow. The poem portrays the image of the speaker at the feet of Jesus, imploring for mercy and guidance. The speaker seeks comfort and solace through their faith, acknowledging their dependence on Jesus's support and care.

Critical Analysis

The poem "Feet o' Jesus" explores the theme of seeking divine comfort in times of sorrow. The image of the speaker at the feet of Jesus is symbolic of their submission to a higher power and their yearning for mercy. The poem emphasizes the speaker's belief in the power of faith and prayer to provide solace and relief from their pain. The repetitive plea for mercy and the intimate address to "ma little Jesus" create an emotional and reverent tone that underscores the depth of the speaker's faith.

Themes of the Poem

  • Faith and Spirituality: The poem centers on the theme of faith and the speaker's reliance on Jesus for solace and guidance in the face of sorrow.
  • Divine Intervention: The speaker's plea for mercy reflects their belief in the power of divine intervention to alleviate their suffering.
  • Sorrow and Comfort: The poem addresses the experience of sorrow and the comfort that faith and spirituality can provide in difficult times.

Stylistic Analysis

  • Imagery: The imagery of the speaker at the feet of Jesus creates a powerful visual representation of their supplication and submission.
  • Repetition: The repeated phrase "At the feet o' Jesus" and the plea for mercy are used for emphasis, conveying the urgency of the speaker's plea.


  • Desperation and Longing: The speaker's plea for mercy and their request for Jesus to "reach out yo' hand" reflect a deep sense of desperation and longing for divine comfort.
  • Reverence: The speaker's address to "ma little Jesus" and their submission to Jesus's feet convey a tone of reverence and humility.


  • Dialect: The use of dialect in phrases like "let yo' mercy" and "ma little Jesus" adds authenticity to the speaker's voice and reinforces the emotional intimacy of the poem.
  • Metaphor: The imagery of being at the feet of Jesus serves as a metaphor for seeking guidance, mercy, and solace from a higher power.

Sound Devices

  • Rhythm: The rhythmic flow of the poem, enhanced by the dialect and repetition, contributes to its musical and emotional quality.

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