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

Georgia Douglas Johnson, "Motherhood" / "Black Woman" (1922)

Editor's Note

Don't knock on my 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 through.

Don't knock at my heart, little one,
   I cannot bear the pain
   Of turning deaf ears 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 cannot give you birth.

Published as "Motherhood" in The Crisis, October 1922
Also published as "Black Woman" in Bronze, 1922

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