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Tributes: Maya Angelou (1928-2014)

The Young Poetess Half a Lifetime Ago

The Young Poetess Half a Lifetime Ago

Losing a poet is a serious thing. They tend not to get replaced often enough with others who are as good. Or maybe we have gotten too used to their voices to hear newer voices emerging from the mass.

I was saddened to hear of Maya Angelou’s death this morning. She had been in poor health and slipped away from us quietly. Fortunately, her voice remains behind to remind us of what we are missing. Such as these brief lines entitled “Awaking in New York”:

Curtains forcing their will
against the wind,
children sleep,
exchanging dreams with
seraphim. The city
drags itself awake on
subway straps; and
I, an alarm, awake as a
rumor of war,
lie stretching into dawn,
unasked and unheeded.

I love that image of children sleeping while exchanging dreams with seraphim.

To one interviewer who asked in 1984 about how she wrote her poems, Miss Angelou had a quick retort:

I also wear a hat or a very tightly pulled head tie when I write. I suppose I hope by doing that I will keep my brains from seeping out of my scalp and running in great gray blobs down my neck, into my ears, and over my face.

Maybe that’s what I should do when I write these blogs!