This is what you shall do Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, reexamine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body. (10)
In addition to the poem of racial protest, the genre at which the women poets of the Harlem Renaissance excelled was the love poem. Many of these poems were addressed to other women, as in the case of Grimkee's haunting A Mona Lisa. Grimke, a lesbian, could offer only a more muted version of her sexual feelings in her published poetry, although she made her attraction to other women more overt in her unpublished verse. In A Mona Lisa, published in Caroling Dusk, she seeks a romantic union with another woman ( I should like to creep Through the long brown grasses That are your lashes ), but her unrequited love leads her to a vision of her own death. The metaphor of her lover's eyes as a pool of water becomes literalized in the second stanza after she finds herself sinking to the bottom to deeply drown, she wonders in a series of questions if she will be remembered as anything more than a bubble breaking or a wave ceasing at the marge. Once again we find color imagery associating...
When Abla was seated in the litter, her paragraph nce became radiant and illumined she smiled in the loveliest manner every charm was heightened, andfrom her eyelashes she shot arrows that penetrated the slayer of men and heroes. It was therefore no wonder that the coxcomb Amarah should be tortured with envy and rage at thus
Whence had they come Eternity is passion, girl or boy Cry at the onset of their sexual joy 'For ever and for ever' then awake Ignorant what Dramatis personae spake A passion-driven exultant man sings out Sentences that he has never thought The Flagellant lashes those submissive loins Ignorant what that dramatist enjoins, What master made the lash. Whence had they come, The hand and lash that beat down frigid Rome What sacred drama through her body heaved When world-transforming Charlemagne was conceived
No longer now Erect the King of Light outstretchd in fury Lashes his tail in the wild deep his Eyelids like the Sun t947 Arising in his pride enlighten all the Grizly deeps His scales transparent give forth light like windows of the morning His neck flames with wrath & majesty he lashes the Abyss Beating the Desarts & the rocks the desarts feel his power They shake their slumbers off. They wave in awful fear Calling the Lion & the Tyger the horse & the wild Stag