The Beautiful Poetry of Angelina Weld Grimké – Poets Who Inspire!

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Here is a writer and poet that I have never heard of. Her biography details that she was a lesbian living in a time when it wasn’t accepted. It seems that her mother wasn’t in the picture, possibly in a mental institution, but this young lady went on to publish a number of outstanding poems.

I am learning so much about these incredible people, some who lived long ago. I love reading and am instilling the love of reading in my grandchildren as I did in my own sons. You learn so much from reading and it truly enhances your vocabulary. These writers didn’t have any choice but to sit and read. I wish I had more time to read. I read a lot, but with my job and work schedule, I don’t have time to read as much as I would love to. One day I will. In due time!!

Please sit back, relax and enjoy the poetry of Miss Angelina Weld Grimké!

Biography of Angelina Weld Grimké –

Angelina Weld Grimké was born on February 27, 1880 in Boston and lived most of her life with her father to whom she was extremely attached emotionally. Soon after Angelina’s birth, her mother left the Grimké household. Information concerning Sarah Stanley Grimké is not readily available, it appears that she may have been confined to a mental institution. Angelina was named for her white great aunt, Angelina Grimké Weld.

As a young woman, Weld, along with her sister, Sarah Grimké, left South Carolina in the early nineteenth century to avoid being involved in owning slaves. The two sisters settled in Hyde Park, Massachusetts, and became well-known abolitionists and advocates of women’s rights. At age seven Angela received a letter from her mother which included beautiful metaphors and imagery. It is said that Angelina was awe-inspired by her mother’s ability to write prose so beautifully. This may have very well been what prompted Ms. Weld Grimke to write poetry.

Angelina’s father seems to have been the source of her restrictions and oppression with her sexuality. She was self-consciousness about being a lesbian. She decided to forgo the expression of her lesbian desires in order to please her father, and in her poem written to commemorate his fifty-fifth birthday she describes what she would have been without him in terms of a great horror and scandal avoided. Evidence of her sexuality appeared as early as the age fourteen where she wrote love letters to her lover, Mamie Burrill in 1896.

Grimké was educated at Fairmont Grammar School in Hyde Park (1887-1894), Carleton Academy in Northfield, Minnesota (1895), Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, Massachusetts, and Girls’ Latin School in Boston, and in 1902 she took a degree in physical education at the Boston Normal School of Gymnastics (now Wellesley College). That same year she began her teaching career as a gym teacher at Armstrong Manual Training School in Washington, D.C., but in 1907, after much tension with the principal of Armstrong, she transferred to the more academic M Street High School (later Dunbar High School) where she taught English.

Through her father’s assistance, Grimké repudiates her own self-molding and takes her dependent imprint from him. Finally, after depicting the care he has given her through her life, Grimké gives her father her highest compliment, “You have been a gentle mother to your child.” That is, the best she can say about her father is that he is almost a mother.

Much of the work of Angelina Wel Grimke has been rigorously ignored. Most of the poems were too lesbian and too sentimental for audiences during and after the Harlem Renaissance. Her fiction, on the other hand, was too stark in its unflinching descriptions of the violence of lynching. Her scenes of violence were unknown in African-American fictional literature prior to the work of Richard Wright. Her short stories with their announcements of racial self-genocide have been too politically and emotionally threatening for African Americans, and others to receive and accept.

When considering the sizable body of work Angelina Grimke produced, it is important to note that very little of her work was published. The times were not friendly to a person such as Ms. Grimke. Not only was it difficult for a Black woman to be published, but the fact that she was a Black lesbian woman at a time when such sexuality was not spoken of or in any way acceptable, made it that much more difficult when trying to become published, as well as being heard.

In 1930, after her father died, Angelina Grimke moved to New York and published nothing more. She lived there in seclusion and died on June 10, 1958.
The Eyes Of My Regret

Always at dusk, the same tearless experience,
The same dragging of feet up the same well-worn path
To the same well-worn rock;
The same crimson or gold dropping away of the sun
The same tints, – rose, saffron, violet, lavender, grey
Meeting, mingling, mixing mistily;
Before me the same blue black cedar rising jaggedly to
a point;
Over it, the same slow unlidding of twin stars,
Two eyes, unfathomable, soul-searing,
Watching, watching, watching me;
The same two eyes that draw me forth, against my will
dusk after dusk;
The same two eyes that keep me sitting late into the
night, chin on knees
Keep me there lonely, rigid, tearless, numbly
miserable –
The eyes of my Regret.

When The Green Lies Over The Earth –

When the green lies over the earth, my dear,
A mantle of witching grace,
When the smile and the tear of the young child year
Dimple across its face,
And then flee, when the wind all day is sweet
With the breath of growing things,
When the wooing bird lights on restless feet
And chirrups and trills and sings
To his lady-love
In the green above,
Then oh! my dear, when the youth’s in the year,
Yours is the face that I long to have near,
Yours is the face, my dear.

But the green is hiding your curls, my dear,
Your curls so shining and sweet;
And the gold-hearted daisies this many a year
Have bloomed and bloomed at your feet,
And the little birds just above your head
With their voices hushed, my dear,
For you have sung and have prayed and have pled
This many, many a year.
And the blossoms fall,
On the garden wall,
And drift like snow on the green below.
But the sharp thorn grows
On the budding rose,
And my heart no more leaps at the sunset glow,
For oh! my dear, when the youth’s in the year,
Yours is the face that I long to have near,
Yours is the face, my dear.

A Winter Twilight –

A silence slipping around like death,
Yet chased by a whisper, a sigh,
a breath; One group of trees, lean,
naked and cold,
Inking their cress ‘gainst a
sky green-gold;

One path that knows where the
corn flowers were;
Lonely, apart, unyielding, one fir;
And over it softly leaning down,
One star that I loved ere the
fields went brown.

Biography and Poetry Credit: poemhunter.com
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