Smothered Fires

By Georgia Douglas Johnson 1880–1966
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!

Source: The Heart of a Woman and Other Poems (The Cornhill Company, 1918)

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Poet Georgia Douglas Johnson 1880–1966

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Harlem Renaissance

Subjects Gender & Sexuality, History & Politics, Social Commentaries, War & Conflict

Biography

A member of the Harlem Renaissance, Georgia Douglas Johnson wrote plays, a syndicated newspaper column, and four collections of poetry: The Heart of a Woman (1918), Bronze (1922), An Autumn Love Cycle (1928), and Share My World (1962). Johnson was born in Atlanta, Georgia, to parents of African American, Native American, and English descent. She graduated from Atlanta University Normal College and studied music at the Oberlin . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Gender & Sexuality, History & Politics, Social Commentaries, War & Conflict

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Harlem Renaissance

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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