Davis was an educator, Baptist minister, popular orator, historian, poet and a leader of Richmond, Virginia's African-American community for over three decades.
I Can Trust
I can not see why trials come,
And sorrows follow thick and fast;
I can not fathom His designs,
Nor why my pleasures can not last,
Nor why my hopes so soon are dust,
But, I can trust.
When darkest clouds my sky o'er hang,
And sadness seems to fill the land,
I calmnly trust His promise sweet,
And cling to his ne'er failing hand,
And, in life's darkest hour, I'll just
Look up and trust.
I know my life with Him is safe,
And all things still must work for good
To whose who love and serve our God,
And lean on Him as children should,
Though hopes decay and turn to dust,
I still will trust.
Anne Spencer (1882-1975)
[Annie Bethel Scales Bannister]
Only about 50 of Spencer's poems appeared in periodicals and anthologies, but in the 1920s
she won national attention for her poetry and the friendship of the most prominent back writers.
Most things are colorful things--the sky, earth, and sea.
Black men are most men' but the white are free!
White things are rare things; so rare, so rare
They stole from out a silvered world-somewhere.
Finding earth-plains fair plains, save greenly
grassed, They strewed white feathers of cowardice, as they passed;
The folden stars with lances fine
The hills all red and darkened pine,
They blanced with their wand of power'
And turned the blood in a ruby rose
To a poor white poppy-flower.
Letter to my Sister
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 lighting,
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,
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.