Robert Hayden Poems
- Middle Passage I Jesús, Estrella, Esperanza, Mercy:
- Those Winter Sundays Sundays too my father got up early And ...
- The Whipping The old woman across the ...
- El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malc... O masks and ...
- Runagate Runagate Runs falls rises stumbles on from darkness ...
- The Prisoners Steel doors – guillotine gates – of the ...
- Monet's Waterlilies Today as the news from Selma and ...
Born Asa Bundey Sheffey, Robert Hayden spent his childhood in a Detroit ghetto nicknamed 'Paradise Valley,' shuffled between his parents home and that of a foster family living next door. Childhood events would result in times of depression he would call 'my dark nights of the soul'. A nearsighted boy, he was often ostracised by his peers and was excluded from many physical pursuits. Reading -however- occupied a great deal of his time.
Hayden finished high school in 1932 and through a scholarship attended Detroit City College. Post graduation, he worked for the Federal Writer's Project, researching black history and folk culture. In 1941, he enrolled in a master's English ... more »
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Jesús, Estrella, Esperanza, Mercy:
Sails flashing to the wind like weapons,
sharks following the moans the fever and the dying;
horror the corposant and compass rose.
voyage through death
to life upon these shores.
"10 April 1800--
Blacks rebellious. Crew uneasy. Our linguist says
their moaning is a prayer for death,
our and their own. Some try to starve themselves.
Lost three this morning leaped with crazy laughter
to the waiting sharks, sang as they went under."
Desire, Adventure, Tartar, Ann: ...