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Robert Hayden was a pioneering African-American poet. He won the Grand Prize for Poetry at the First World Festival of Negro Arts and 1975 Fellow of the academy of American Poets. He served two terms as Poetry Consultant to the Library of Congress, was a member of the American academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and professor of English at the University of Michigan.


Bahá’u’lláh in the Garden of Ridwan

Agonies confirm His hour, 
and swords like compass-needles turn 
toward His heart, 

The midnight air is forested 
with presences that shelter Him 
and sheltering praise 

The auroral darkness which is God 
and sing the word made flesh again 
in Him. 

Eternal exile whose return 
epiphanies repeatedly 

He watches in a borrowed garden, 
prays. And sleepers toss upon 
their armored beds, 

Half-roused by golden knocking at 
the doors of consciousness. Energies 
like angels dance 

Glorias of recognition. 
Within the rock the undiscovered suns 
release their light. 

From A Ballad of Remembrance