“To fling my arms wide
Langston Hughes, “Dream Variations”
Hughes has emerged from being a prominent Black poet to being one of the most recognized and revered voices among all American poets. His poetry wears that mantle uncomfortably in its self-conscious awareness of the enforced otherness of the Black voice in society. This poem can be read as a sonorous, joyous elegy to the beauty and promise of life, but its emphasis on “white day is done” in contrast to the offset lines “Dark like me” and “Black like me” in the next stanza is unmissable.