Robert Hayden Poems
- Those Winter Sundays Sundays too my father got up early And ...
- The Whipping The old woman across the ...
- Middle Passage I Jesús, Estrella, Esperanza, Mercy:
- The Prisoners Steel doors – guillotine gates – of the ...
- Monet's Waterlilies Today as the news from Selma and ...
- Perseus Her sleeping head with its great gelid mass of ...
- Frederick Douglass When it is finally ours, this freedom, ...
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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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?