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The Heart of a Woman

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The heart of a woman goes forth with the dawn,
As a lone bird, soft winging, so restlessly on,
Afar o’er life’s turrets and vales does it roam
In the wake of those echoes the heart calls home.

The heart of a woman falls back with the night,
And enters some alien cage in its plight,
And tries to forget it has dreamed of the stars
While it breaks, breaks, breaks on the sheltering bars.

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

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  • 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 Conservatory and the Cleveland College of Music. After graduation, she taught and worked as an assistant principal. In 1910 she moved with her husband to Washington, D.C. When her husband died in 1925, Johnson supported her two sons by working temporary jobs until she was hired by the Department of Labor.

    Johnson’s house at 1461 S Street NW, which came to be known as site of the S Street Salon, was an important meeting place for writers of the Harlem Renaissance in Washington, D.C. Johnson...

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