Georgia Douglas Johnson, "The Mother" (1917)
With incantation sad and wild;
A deep compassion brims her eye
And stills upon her lips, the sigh.
Her thoughts are leaping down the years,
O’er branding bars, through seething tears,
Her heart is sandaling his feet
Adown the world’s corroding street.
Then, with a start she dons a smile
His tender yearnings to beguile.
And only God will ever know
The wordless measure of her woe.
This poem was first published in The Crisis, October 1917