Poetry Friday: Langston Hughes & Audra McDonald

With April being National Poetry Month, I thought I'd take a few poems that have caught my eye over the years and share them with you in the next couple of weeks. Although I am not now, nor shall I ever be, what could be considered A Poet - there are many verses that seem to stick inside my brain long after I've heard them. I tend to like a wide range of poems: long epics, tragedies, and humorous lines never fail to catch my fancy but for some reason the joyful always seem to strike a chord with me. And I can't think of a more joyful or exhilarating poem than Langston Hughes "Dream Variations" - especially when preformed by the magnificent Audra McDonald.

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

This week's Poetry Friday is hosted by Paper Tigers.


Henry said...

Hey Michelle, I agree with the fact that "Dream Variations" is a great poem and really opens wide a world inside of Hughes's brain. I have noticed while reading Hughes's poetry that Hughes truly walks on the edge between inciting rebellion and remaining within the current situation. In poems like "Freedom's Plow", Hughes urges continued hard work within the continued system, but at times he calls for rebellion and violent action against whites in poems including "Harlem". Another thing that I found interesting was the way that Hughes often seems to randomly insert race references into his poems. In this one it is especially apparent, Hughes inserts a commentary on race into his poetry after building up the apperance that is a poem about something else. This allows him to lull the reader to sleep before hitting him with potent racial commentary.

jack f. said...

What an excellent example of Hughes' writing technique. And kudos to you for acknowledging such an influential poet. When i read this poem, like most of his poetry, i hear music. It is amazing how, without anything other that words, he can imitate the rise and fall of the human voice and the subtle nuances of music. Although it is not structured like "The Weary Blues" i can still hear the "drowsy syncopated tune"-remarkable.