Poem 253 ± February 12, 2016

Georgia Douglas Johnson
Black Woman

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!

georgia_douglas_johnsonGeorgia Douglas Johnson (1880 – 1966) was an American poet, one of the earliest African-American female playwrights, and a member of the Harlem Renaissance. She published four volumes of poetry, beginning in 1916 with The Heart of a Woman. Johnson was a key advocate in the anti-lynching movement and a pioneering member of the lynching drama tradition. She was involved in the NAACP’s anti-lynching campaigns of 1936 and 1938 and a member of the Writers League Against Lynching, which advocated for a federal anti-lynching bill and included Countée Cullen, James Weldon Johnson, Jessie Fauset, and Alain Locke. Her long-running series of Saturday Salons hosted Harlem Renaissance luminaries including Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer, Anne Spencer, Richard Bruce Nugent, Alain Locke, Jessie Redmon Fauset, Angelina Weld Grimké and Eulalie Spence.

This poem is in the public domain.