Letter

…To My Sister

By Anne Spencer

This poem captivated me when I heard it on PBS last night. Gods, in this poem, refers to men — who, presumably, view themselves as such. But I like to think of gods in a gender neutral term in this poem, allowing it to refer to both men and women.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

“Letter To My Sister”

By Anne Spencer

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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One Response

  1. I love the poem. Really beautiful.

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