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

Georgia Douglas Johnson, "Smothered Fires" (1918)

A woman with a burning flame
   Deep covered through the years
With ashes. Ah! she hid it deep,
   And smothered it with tears.
Sometimes a baleful light would rise
   From out the dusky bed,
And then the woman hushed it quick
   To slumber on, as dead.
At last the weary war was done
   The tapers were alight,
And with a sigh of victory
   She breathed a soft — good-night!

Published in The Heart of a Woman, 1918

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