the years of dream variations and langston hughes

a friend asked me who my favourite poet was.  I always name Langston Hughes.  And every time after I name him, I think about him and the poem, ‘dream variations.’  Very complicated and prolific writer.  He is a poet’s poet.

I love the rhythm, the clean delivery, the simplicity, and the subtle emotion of that poem.  It was the first poem I ever read of his.  It’s, at first, beautiful and quiet and gentle; accepting and part of the flow of a very busy life.  It always eventually feels a little sad – a little restless – especially at that point of rest at the end of each stanza.

Dream Variations

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.

Langston Hughes


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