FWWHaydenlesson

FWWHaydenlesson - Robert Hayden, Poems and Notes...

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Robert Hayden, Poems and Notes "Names" Once they were sticks and stones I feared would break my bones: Four Eyes. And worse. Old Four Eyes fled to safety in the danger zones Tom Swift and Kubla Khan traversed. When my fourth decade came, I learned my name was not my name. I felt deserted, mocked. Why had the old ones lied? No matter. They were dead. And the name on the books was dead, like the life my mother fled, like the life I might have known. You don't exist -- at least not legally, the lawyer said. As ghost, double, alter ego then? Robert Hayden
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"Monet's '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. Robert Hayden
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"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. Robert Hayden
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"Night, Death, Mississippi" 1 A quavering cry. Screech-owl? Or one of them? The old man in his reek and gauntness laughs -- One of them, I bet -- and turns out the kitchen lamp, limping to the porch to listen in the windowless night. Be there with Boy and the rest if I was well again. Time was. Time was. White robes like moonlight In the sweetgum dark. Unbucked that one then and him squealing bloody Jesus as we cut it off. Time was. A cry? A cry all right. He hawks and spits, fevered as by groinfire. Have us a bottle,
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FWWHaydenlesson - Robert Hayden, Poems and Notes...

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