When I'm in need of some seriously good poetry, the kind that makes you breathe deep and look at the world in a whole new light, I usually make a beeline for the Collected Poems of Robert Hayden. In celebration of the last Monday of Poetry Month, here is a Robert Hayden poem about the reflective and refractive qualities of art in a world we don't always want to look at head-on.
by Robert Hayden
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.