Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, LETTER TO MY SISTER, by ANNE SPENCER



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LETTER TO MY SISTER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: It is dangerous for a woman to defy the gods
Last Line: The gods their god-like fun.
Alternate Author Name(s): Bannister, Anne Bethel Scales
Subject(s): African Americans; African Americans - Women; Negroes; American Blacks


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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