Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Thank You Dr. Angelou

With the sad news of the passing of one of my literary heroes, I wanted to share a poem of hers and also a response I have written.

Thank you Maya - you gave women like me a reason to write and a voice.  You were so many things to so many people.


I hope you forgive my stab at poetry.  I wanted to think of you as a wise old oak tree - hidden deep in a forest, still absorbing life from this world and nourishing it with your thoughts.

Here's Maya's poem:

When Great Trees Fall

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
gnaws on kind words
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.”

-Maya Angelou


Thank You Maya

You rose up, my love,
And with your arms open,
Embraced us all.

From an age of malice, sprung understanding,
And in perpetual seasons of discontent
Spread forth your wings, shining light on the dark shadows of the world.

For the hopeless; hope
For the poor; a wealth of words
For the thirsty; a never ending spring
Which ran into tides
That pulled us all in, lifted us up
And kept us afloat.

In the forest, unseen, a wizened oak
Dips it's roots in the river
And tickles the trickle with tiny tendrils
Nourishing its decades with fresh water thoughts.
Laughingly peaceful and happy at home
In woods, where no man can find her.
Her thoughts keep her dancing,
And light up the world
As the leaves on her branches transform the air
Into something we can breathe.

When great souls like you die,
The world chants clear:
She existed, she existed
We can be. Be and be
Better because she existed.

-Genna Millar


  1. This is fabulous, Genna. I love your response to Maya Angelou's wonderful poem. Brilliant writing. x


I moderate my comments before publishing just to make sure there is nothing too naughty or spammy. Comments will disappear initially but don't worry. They just need to be verified before they appear on the page. Genna x

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