Robert Earl Hayden quotes

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Mark Van Doren,
a poem of remembrance, a gift, a souvenir for you.
As well have a talon as a finger, a muzzle as a mouth,
as well have a hollow as a heart.
Quadroon mermaids, Afro angels, black saints
balanced upon the switchblades of that air
and sang.
Then you arrived, meditative, ironic,
richly human; and your presence was shore where I rested
this man, this Douglass, this former slave, this Negro
beaten to his knees, exiled, visioning a world
this freedom, this liberty, this beautiful
and terrible thing, needful to man as air,
usable as earth;
She came out on the stage in yards of pearls, emerging like
a favorite scenic view, flashed her golden smile and sang.
Shuttles in the rocking loom of history,
the dark ships move, the dark ships move,
Standing to America, bringing home
black gold, black ivory, black seed.
"10 April 1800--
Blacks rebellious. Crew uneasy. Our linguist says
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