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Best Famous Robert Hayden Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Robert Hayden poems. This is a select list of the best famous Robert Hayden poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Robert Hayden poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Robert Hayden poems.

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by Robert Hayden | |

Monets Waterlilies

 Today as the news from Selma and Saigon
poisons the air like fallout,
I come again to see
the serene, great picture that I love.
Here space and time exist in light the eye like the eye of faith believes.
The seen, the known dissolve in iridescence, become illusive flesh of light that was not, was, forever is.
O light beheld as through refracting tears.
Here is the aura of that world each of us has lost.
Here is the shadow of its joy.


by Robert Hayden | |

El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X)

 O masks and metamorphoses of Ahab, Native Son

I

The icy evil that struck his father down
and ravished his mother into madness
trapped him in violence of a punished self
struggling to break free.
As Home Boy, as Dee-troit Red, he fled his name, became the quarry of his own obsessed pursuit.
He conked his hair and Lindy-hopped, zoot-suited jiver, swinging those chicks in the hot rose and reefer glow.
His injured childhood bullied him.
He skirmished in the Upas trees and cannibal flowers of the American Dream-- but could not hurt the enemy powered against him there.


by Robert Hayden | |

The Prisoners

 Steel doors – guillotine gates – 
of the doorless house closed massively.
We were locked in with loss.
Guards frisked us, marked our wrists, then let us into the drab Rec Hall – splotched green walls, high windows barred – where the dispossessed awaited us.
Hands intimate with knife and pistol, hands that had cruelly grasped and throttled clasped ours in welcome.
I sensed the plea of men denied: Believe us human like yourselves, who but for Grace .
.
.
We shared reprieving Hidden Words revealed by the Godlike imprisoned One, whose crime was truth.
And I read poems I hoped were true.
It's like you been there, brother, been there, the scarred young lifer said.


by Robert Hayden | |

Perseus

 Her sleeping head with its great gelid mass
of serpents torpidly astir
burned into the mirroring shield--
a scathing image dire
as hated truth the mind accepts at last
and festers on.
I struck.
The shield flashed bare.
Yet even as I lifted up the head and started from that place of gazing silences and terrored stone, I thirsted to destroy.
None could have passed me then-- no garland-bearing girl, no priest or staring boy--and lived.


by Robert Hayden | |

Soledad

 (And I, I am no longer of that world)

Naked, he lies in the blinded room
chainsmoking, cradled by drugs, by jazz
as never by any lover's cradling flesh.
Miles Davis coolly blows for him: O pena negra, sensual Flamenco blues; the red clay foxfire voice of Lady Day (lady of the pure black magnolias) sobsings her sorrow and loss and fare you well, dryweeps the pain his treacherous jailers have released him from for a while.
His fears and his unfinished self await him down in the anywhere streets.
He hides on the dark side of the moon, takes refuge in a stained-glass cell, flies to a clockless country of crystal.
Only the ghost of Lady Day knows where he is.
Only the music.
And he swings oh swings: beyond complete immortal now.


by Robert Hayden | |

The Whipping

 The old woman across the way
 is whipping the boy again
and shouting to the neighborhood
 her goodness and his wrongs.
Wildly he crashes through elephant ears, pleads in dusty zinnias, while she in spite of crippling fat pursues and corners him.
She strikes and strikes the shrilly circling boy till the stick breaks in her hand.
His tears are rainy weather to woundlike memories: My head gripped in bony vise of knees, the writhing struggle to wrench free, the blows, the fear worse than blows that hateful Words could bring, the face that I no longer knew or loved .
.
.
Well, it is over now, it is over, and the boy sobs in his room, And the woman leans muttering against a tree, exhausted, purged-- avenged in part for lifelong hidings she has had to bear.


by Robert Hayden | |

Those Winter Sundays

 Sundays too my father got up early
And put his clothes on in the blueback 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?


by Robert Hayden | |

O Daedalus Fly Away Home

 (For Maia and Julie) 

Drifting night in the Georgia pines, 
coonskin drum and jubilee banjo.
Pretty Malinda, dance with me.
Night is juba, night is congo.
Pretty Malinda, dance with me.
Night is an African juju man weaving a wish and a weariness together to make two wings.
O fly away home fly away Do you remember Africa? O cleave the air fly away home My gran, he flew back to Africa, just spread his arms and flew away home.
Drifting night in the windy pines; night is laughing, night is a longing.
Pretty Malinda, come to me.
Night is a mourning juju man weaving a wish and a weariness together to make two wings.
O fly away home fly away