I offer you a poem for your consumption.

Langston Hughes wrote and published Dream Variations, in 1926.  It is an subtle series of lines, that found its way into his first poetry collection titled The Weary Blues.  Don't be concerned if you never heard of it.  At one point I was happily oblivious to its existence as well, but it is worth reading.  It's worth some time and study.

Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri, in the infancy of the twentieth century.  He died in his late sixties, having made a irreplaceable impact on our world through his collection of plays, prose, and poems.

His life was hard.  He was black, in a white America, long before any traction of the Civil Rights Movement.  His parents divorced right after his birth, seemingly baptizing him with much disappointment and insecurity.  He was raised by his maternal grandmother, but she to left him too.  She died when he was in his early teens. 

After that, he reunited and lived with his mother, often moving from place to place, forever unaccepted and rejected.

As a teenager that he found a way out, he scratched his way with poetry.  He contributed what he could and as much as he was allowed, painfully aware why his work never appeared in main stream poetry magazines.  When you are the wrong colour, in a society with no desire for change, it doesn't matter how articulately you describe your experience.  Your experience doesn't matter.  You are the dark, in the middle of the day. 

He couldn't join a movement because there was no real movement to join yet.  He continued to write and write, becoming a founding member of one.

Langston Hughes was a pivotal pillar of the Harlem Renaissance.  His poetry was different.  It was very down to earth.  His lines mirrored the lyrics and melodies of jazz and blues musicians at the time.  While his contemporaries looked for abstract ideas and metaphors to describe their misery, Langston Hughes connected with the musicians and wrote in simple prose, determined to leave no one out.

Dream Variations is a deceptively subtle poem.  Perhaps the saddest poem I have ever read.  Imagine being so abandoned and struck down by the society, that you long for darkness.  When you look out into the world, you cannot stand tall, and peace only comes in the cover of night and darkness.  They are all you have.  They are Black Like Me.   


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.