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

About Sivan Butler-Rotholz

Sivan is the Managing Editor of the Saturday Poetry Series on As It Ought To Be and holds an MFA from Brooklyn College. She is a professor, writer, editor, comic artist, and attorney emerita. She is also the founder of Reviving Herstory. Sivan welcomes feedback, poetry submissions, and solicitations of her writing via email at sivan.sf [at] gmail [dot] com.
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  1. Maya Elashi says:

    we be on the precipice of an abyss
    ready ‘nd willing to shift into an Old-New paradigm
    ‘cuz the last hundred years, of the past six thousand
    that the ‘They’ say reveals ‘human nature,’ is TOAST

    so spread it to the edges with organic butter or better yet use GHEE!

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