Dawn for the rich, the artistic and the
Is beauty splashed on canvas of the skies,
The brushes being the clouds that float
Dipped in the breeze for paint, and washed
But dawn to those who bathe the night in
Squeeze sustenance from hard unyielding
Is full of strange imaginings and fears.
The dawn renews the terror of the day
Where harassing uncertainties hold sway;
And pain held in surcease through brief
hours of rest
Roars up its head in its unceasing quest
To wear out body, brain and mind and soul
Till death is a resolve, and death a goal.
For those life holds no beauty, dawn no
For day is hopeless, dawn is struck with
Gladys May Casely-Hayford alias Aquah Laluah (11 May 1904, Axim - October 1950, Freetown) was a Sierra Leonean writer, daughter of Adelaide Casely-Hayford. She started the Krio language literature.
She studied in Ghana and Wales, danced with a Berlin jazz band, and returning to Africa taught at her mother’s Girls’ Vocational School in Freetown. Her first poems were published in the Atlantic Monthly and The Philadelphia Tribune. Her poetry has been widely anthologized.
Hayford was an accomplished writer, musician, dramatist, painter, and storyteller. She had very deep African roots in her writings and Anthologists of the Harlem Renaissance loved her work. She was an influential poet during that period because she wasn’t afraid to be herself, and express herself through her writing.