African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology

Georgia Douglas Johnson, "Maternity" (1922)


Perhaps— and yet
I cannot say with surety
That I am happy thus to be
Responsible for this young life’s embarking.
Is he not thrall to prevalent conditions?
Does not the day loom dark apace
To weave its cordon of disgrace
Around his lifted throat?
Is not this mezzotint enough and surfeit
For such prescience?
Ah, did I dare
Recall the pulsing life I gave,
And fold him in the kindly grave !

Perhaps — could I but ever so faintly scan
The broad horizon of a man
Swept fair for his dominion —
So hesitant and half-afraid
I view this babe of sorrow!

Published in Bronze, 1922

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