Friday, January 22, 2016

Two Poems by Robert Hayden

Those Winter Sundays

Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blue black cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he'd call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love's austere and lonely offices?

Frederick Douglass

When it is finally ours, this freedom, this liberty, this beautiful
and terrible thing, needful to man as air,   
usable as earth; when it belongs at last to all,   
when it is truly instinct, brain matter, diastole, systole,   
reflex action; when it is finally won; when it is more   
than the gaudy mumbo jumbo of politicians:   
this man, this Douglass, this former slave, this Negro   
beaten to his knees, exiled, visioning a world   
where none is lonely, none hunted, alien,   
this man, superb in love and logic, this man   
shall be remembered. Oh, not with statues’ rhetoric,   
not with legends and poems and wreaths of bronze alone,
but with the lives grown out of his life, the lives   
fleshing his dream of the beautiful, needful thing.

Robert Hayden published several books of poetry: Heart-Shape in the Dust, Falcon Press, 1940; (With Myron O'Higgins) The Lion and the Archer, Hemphill Press, 1948; Figure of Time: Poems, Hemphill Press, 1955; A Ballad of Remembrance, Paul Breman, 1962; Selected Poems, October House, 1966; Words in the Mourning Time, October House, 1970; The Night-Blooming Cereus, Paul Breman, 1972; Angle of Ascent: New and Selected Poems, Liveright, 1975; American Journal, Effendi Press, 1978, 1982; posthumously: Robert Hayden: Collected Poems, edited by Frederick Glaysher, Liveright, 1985,1996.

His poems have been published in various periodicals and newspapers such as Black Scholar, New York Times, New York Times Book Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Washington Post, Time, Los Angeles Times, Nation, Obsidian: Black Literature in Review and many others.

Robert Hayden (August 4, 1913 – February 25, 1980)

1 comment:

  1. I appreciate very much the poems you share with us