Wednesday 28 May 2014

The Wonderful Words of Maya Angelou

I was saddened to hear about the death of the wonderful American writer and poet Maya Angelou today.  I first picked up her poetry as teenager and was captivated by her direct words, their rhythm and certainly their message.

My favourite was Phenomenal Woman from the book And Still I Rise, the first verses of which celebrate being amazing even if you are not beautiful, a message that I welcomes as a young woman:

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

The full poem is here.

I also loved the poem Our Grandmothers from the Anthology "I Shall Not Be Moved":

She lay, skin down in the moist dirt,
the canebrake rustling
with the whispers of leaves, and
loud longing of hounds and
the ransack of hunters crackling the near

She muttered, lifting her head a nod toward
I shall not, I shall not be moved.

She gathered her babies,
their tears slick as oil on black faces,
their young eyes canvassing mornings of madness.
Momma, is Master going to sell you
from us tomorrow?

Unless you keep walking more
and talking less.
Unless the keeper of our lives
releases me from all commandments.
And your lives,
never mine to live,
will be executed upon the killing floor of
Unless you match my heart and words,
saying with me,

I shall not be moved.

The full poem is here.

My favourite Maya Angelou quote: "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

1 comment:

  1. I read about it on the internet today multiple times.
    To be honest I never heard about her before, but she must have been a special woman.