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Georgia Douglas Johnson, an African American icon and the female voice of the Harlem Renaissance wrote the exquisite poem “The Heart of a Woman,” which depicts how a woman travels the world and returns to her haven of safety at night. The poem is well-known all around the world since it is clear how dissatisfied the author is.
About the poet
Atlanta, Georgia is the city where Georgia Douglas Johnson was born in 1877. She graduated in 1893 from Atlanta University’s Normal School when she was a student there. She worked as a school administrator and a teacher for a while in Atlanta and Marietta. Her earliest poetry collections, The Heart of a Woman and Bronze, were released in Washington, D.C., where she resided after marrying Henry Lincoln Johnson in 1903.
Despite being a single mom, she managed to support her sons’ schooling and keep up her writing because of her commitment to them. Throughout her life, she produced more than twenty-eight plays, and her work was extremely well-liked. She was regarded as the greatest African-American lady poet of her period until she passed away in 1966.
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 poem starts by describing a woman’s independence, which exists solely in her heart and is not physical. In the second sentence, the speaker likens a woman’s wandering heart to a “lone bird” that soars above the earth. Though it is claimed to be “soft winging” or flying gently, the bird is nonetheless fidgety.
The speaker’s perspective on the world is revealed to the reader as the bird flies over the “turrets” and “vales” of existence. The bird flies on without touching any of them. All that is described below the bird has a strong sense of familiarity, which is confirmed in the second verse.
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.
As night strikes and the day grows dark, closing women off from the world, the heart of a woman is obliged to return home. The barriers that separate the bird and the woman’s heart, which both desperately strive to focus only on the here and now, are impenetrable.
This concept is still applicable today since many women are still imprisoned in cages and houses that are disguised as a refuge. Johnson’s metaphor, which still holds a lot of weight today and is completely well-thought-out and thorough, reflects the situation of women.