Anne Spencer was born on February 6, 1882, in Henry County, Virginia and graduated from the Virginia Seminary in Lynchburg in 1899. An important figure of the Harlem Renaissance despite her distance from New York, she developed close friendships with several Harlem Renaissance writers, including James Weldon Johnson, whom she met while establishing a Lynchburg chapter of the NAACP. She published over thirty poems in anthologies and magazines during her lifetime and was the first black woman poet to appear in the Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry (W. W. Norton, 1973). Her work was published posthumously in Time’s Unfading Garden: Anne Spencer’s Life and Poetry (Louisiana State University Press, 1977). She died on July 27, 1975.
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Maker-of-Sevens in the scheme of things
From earth to star;
Thy cycle holds whatever is fate, and
Over the border the bar.
Though rank and fierce the mariner
Sailing the seven seas,
He prays as he holds his glass to his eyes,
Coaxing the Pleiades.
I cannot love them; and I feel your glad,
Chiding from the grave,
That my all was only worth at all, what
Joy to you it gave,
These seven links the Law compelled
For the human chain—
I cannot love them; and you, oh,
Seven-fold months in Flanders slain!
A jungle there, a cave here, bred six
And a million years.
Sure and strong, mate for mate, such
Love as culture fears;
I gave you clear the oil and wine;
You saved me your hob and hearth—
See how even life may be ere the
Sickle comes and leaves a swath.
But I can wait the seven of moons,
Or years I spare,
Hoarding the heart's plenty, nor spend
A drop, nor share—
So long but outlives a smile and
A silken gown;
Then gaily I reach up from my shroud,
And you, glory-clad, reach down.
An important figure of the Harlem Renaissance, Anne Spencer was born on February 6, 1882, in Henry County, Virginia and graduated from the Virginia Seminary in Lynchburg in 1899.