Who is the speaker in “Dream Variations”?

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The speaker in this poem does not identify him- or herself. However, there are elements in the poem which give us some clues as to his identity. In the first place, the title, "Dream Variations," indicates that the speaker is a dreamer, someone whose thoughts turn to imaginings which, at face value, are not particularly fantastical, but which obviously seem beyond reach. In the poem, the speaker describes his "dream" as being to dance "in some place of the sun" for the duration of the day and then rest afterwards in the cool of the evening. This is seemingly something which is not possible in the speaker's everyday life.

At the end of each stanza, the speaker gives further insight into why he so craves this scenario. He imagines a night which is "black like me," "dark like me." So, we can assume that the speaker is a black person who, perhaps, does not have any experience of existing in the kind of quietude he describes in the poem. He also seems to express a longing for his surroundings to be "like me," as if, in his own life, he has been made to feel that he does not belong because of the color of his skin.

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