“Song for a Dark Girl” elicited confusion from two parts of it’s form. The first part concerned the parentheses surrounding the second line of each stanza. I wondered if these parentheses were meant to be a reinforcing echo or a side-note to Hughes himself (like in Bishop’s “One Art”). Neither one of those options made sense in context. I searched the term “Way Down South in Dixie” and it resulted in songs that describe the glory and cultural allure of the south in the late 1800’s. However, these were very clearly extensions of white culture and made no mention of the foundation of slavery the culture thrived on. Based on that, I now see the parentheses used ironically, as a side-note to the reader. Hughes makes the first stanza of each line an expression of southern greatness and then follows it with an almost shocking sense of sadness (“bruised body high in air”). I think he does this to echo the way slavery was viewed in the South. It was cruel, but well-known and simply ignored because it was necessary to sustain Southern “glory”. The entire business of slavery was “in parentheses”; black voices weren’t heard because they were an optional side-read.
The second issue concerned the way Hughes arranged the poem. His use of indention seemed strange until I realized he was using a hanging indent, which may be a play on the subject matter of the poem. The use of selected indention may also emphasize those lines that jut out or draw attention to the alternative rhyme scheme. I’m just not sure what significance those other points would hold.