Posted by: gdevi | May 28, 2014

Obituary: Maya Angelou (1928-2014)

Maya Angelou has passed away. What a tremendous loss for the world. Rest in Peace, Maya. You are loved by all.

You know, I always teach excerpts from I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in my classes. It appears to be naive at this late point in civilization to speak of literature’s power to affect lives, but I have seen the most cynical student shake himself or herself awake when we read Angelou in class. Her perfect iambs, her perfect sentences affect them. They walk away from that reading with a new appreciation of the beauty of thought and expression. What a great great writer! Nothing matches the power of Truth when combined with the expression of Beauty. “Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty, ” as Keats observed. That is who you are, Maya. I  shall mourn your passing with a personal sorrow.

 

Caged Bird – Maya Angelou (1983)

A free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wing
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.
But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.
The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn
and he names the sky his own
But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.
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