Letter to my Sister by Anne Spencer

#NationalPoetryMonth #HarlemRenaissance


Letter To My Sister
It is dangerous for a woman

to defy the gods;

To taunt them with the tongue’s thin tip,

Or strut in the weakness

of mere humanity,

Or draw a line daring them to cross;

The gods own the searing lightning,

The drowning waters, tormenting fears

And anger of red sins.
Oh, but worse still if you mince timidly–

Dodge this way or that, or kneel or pray,

Be kind, or sweat agony drops

Or lay your quick body over

your feeble young;

If you have beauty or none, if celibate

Or vowed–the gods are Juggernaut,

Passing over . . . over . . .
This you may do:

Lock your heart, then, quietly,

And lest they peer within,

Light no lamp when dark comes down

Raise no shade for sun;

Breathless must your

breath come through

If you’d die and dare deny

The gods their god-like fun


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