Mr. Robert Hayden

You were the first Black Poet Laureate, of U.S. Library of Congress, and the first black man who recognized that first, and foremost, above all else, I am a poet, and that that is okay.  So I say to you old master:

On the live stage there are no retakes
Just a final curtain to be drawn
The actor has but one choice to make
Once the house lights come up and on
There are no deals that can be made
With the dusk, the dark or with the dawn
When the sun goes down it’s too late
The day has already come and gone
And which road does the farmer take
Back to the rain and the summer sun
To pay thanks for a yield so great
When the picking and plowing is all done
Likewise, how do I thank you for so many things,
Now that you have lived, died and gone? —Billi