SATURDAY POETRY SERIES PRESENTS: THE HEART OF A WOMAN

We_Can_Do_It!
THE HEART OF A WOMAN
By Georgia Douglas Johnson

The heart of a woman goes forth with the dawn,
As a lone bird, soft winging, so restlessly on,
Afar o’er life’s turrets and vales does it roam
In the wake of those echoes the heart calls home.

The heart of a woman falls back with the night,
And enters some alien cage in its plight,
And tries to forget it has dreamed of the stars
While it breaks, breaks, breaks on the sheltering bars.


(Today’s poem is in the public domain, belongs to the masses, and appears here today accordingly.)


Editor’s Note: No matter who you voted for in the primaries nor who you plan to vote for come November, there is no denying that this was an historic week in American history.

In this vein, I dedicate today’s poem–written by a black woman in a white age–to Michelle Obama, a black woman running the White House who reminded us this week that: “I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves. And I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent black young women, playing with their dogs on the White House lawn.” And I dedicate this poem to the fact that, for the first time in American history, a woman has been nominated by a major party to run for President of the United States of America.

Any (reasonable) reservations you (or I) may have about Hillary Clinton and our two-party system aside, this is a moment to pause and marvel, to appreciate what we have accomplished and to believe that this can–and should–be just the beginning of progressive progress. This is a moment to celebrate that the heart of a woman need not try “to forget it has dreamed of the stars,” for it need not break, break, break “on the sheltering bars.”

Georgia Douglas Johnson: A member of the Harlem Renaissance, Georgia Douglas Johnson wrote plays, a syndicated newspaper column, and four collections of poetry: The Heart of a Woman (1918), Bronze (1922), An Autumn Love Cycle (1928), and Share My World (1962). (Annotated biography courtesy of The Poetry Foundation.)

SATURDAY POETRY SERIES PRESENTS: GEORGIA DOUGLAS JOHNSON

41MpGwPz6mL._SS500_
BLACK WOMAN
By Georgia Douglas Johnson

Don’t knock at the door, little child,
      I cannot let you in,
You know not what a world this is
      Of cruelty and sin.
Wait in the still eternity
      Until I come to you,
The world is cruel, cruel, child,
      I cannot let you in!

Don’t knock at my heart, little one,
      I cannot bear the pain
Of turning deaf-ear to your call
      Time and time again!
You do not know the monster men
      Inhabiting the earth,
Be still, be still, my precious child,
      I must not give you birth!


(Today’s poem is in the public domain, belongs to the masses, and appears here today accordingly.)


Georgia Douglas Johnson: A member of the Harlem Renaissance, Georgia Douglas Johnson wrote plays, a syndicated newspaper column, and four collections of poetry: The Heart of a Woman (1918), Bronze (1922), An Autumn Love Cycle (1928), and Share My World (1962). (Annotated biography courtesy of The Poetry Foundation.)

Editor’s Note: Some poems are so powerful they speak clearly to us across the span of time. Nearly one hundred years after its publication, “Black Woman” is such a poem, telling a story that resonates today as strongly as it did in 1922.

Want to read more by and about Georgia Douglas Johnson?
The Poetry Foundation
Academy of American Poets
University of Minnesota