Langston Hughes, “Dream Variations”

I have stated my desire to celebrate National Poetry Month by seeking and sharing poems about race. I love Langston Hughes’ work, but I think my reasons for sharing the poem I did on April 1 were more about my affinity for his youthful yearnings than about my promoting his poetry of race. To correct that, I offer today, his lyric of black and white, “Dream Variations.” Thank you to The Academy of American Poets.

Dream Variations

Langston Hughes, 19021967
To fling my arms wide
In some place of the sun,
To whirl and to dance
Till the white day is done.
Then rest at cool evening
Beneath a tall tree
While night comes on gently,
    Dark like me—
That is my dream!

To fling my arms wide
In the face of the sun,
Dance!  Whirl!  Whirl!
Till the quick day is done.
Rest at pale evening . . .
A tall, slim tree . . .
Night coming tenderly
    Black like me.

I can’t help but notice the movement in this poem, the whirling and dancing, which of course, reminds me of my own work, Twirlyword.

The image above is a collage by Susan Anthony. I adore her work.

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