Maya Angelou: Gifts of wisdom and wit, courage and grace.

With these words, President Clinton described the work of Maya Angelou. The writer, poet, civil-rights activist, director and actress, a native of St. Louis, Missouri, died Wednesday, May 28th at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, at the age of eighty-three. An accomplished and extraordinarily talented woman, Ms. Angelou led an utterly amazing life. Beyond poetry, she wrote advice books, cookbooks, children’s stories, music, plays and screenplays. Her son, Guy Johnson, called her “a worrior for equality, tolerance and peace”, but she thought of herself as a poet in love with “the sound of language.” Her last Twitter post read “Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.”

Caged Bird 

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.

— Maya Angelou

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  • Copyright © 2011-16, Dianne Ebertt Beeaff. All Rights Reserved.
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