Maya Angelou: Poet, Storyteller, & Brilliant Mind Will Continue to Inspire

Maya Angelou: Poet, Storyteller, & Brilliant Mind Will Continue to Inspire

posted in: Writer: Autumn | 0

Maya Angelou is known for many things, most of which include inspiring generations upon generations with her beautiful words. In her 86 years of life she seemly touched every facet of entertainment; from music to acting to writing and speaking, there wasn’t a talent she didn’t have. Yet her talents were never for the sake of simple entertainment, she used her carefully crafted words to inspire generations of people and fight for causes that were close to her heart. Her tumultuous life inspired her poetry and art, and her heart encouraged many of us to look within ourselves to push past our tribulations with an understanding that there is always light at the end of our tunnel. To many, she has been an inspiration in the art of pulling yourself out of a dark place and finding the light, and to others she has been an undeniably talent that has blessed the literary world.

When I was 11 years old and just beginning to explore the world of music and songwriting, I was inspired to peruse Maya Angelou’s poetry after reading an article in which the musician Jewel had said her songwriting was inspired in part by Angelou’s work. Picking up her poems changed my entire perspective of the beauty of word work and lyrical flow, and gave me a deep understanding of the power of the written word. It has shaped the way I write songs, the way I view lyrics, and what I believe words should be used for. I fell in love with writing at that point in my life and it has been a love affair that has never faded. In the shadow that she leaves behind lives a beautiful message of hope, perseverance, and intensity we will never forget. Rest in Peace, sweet Maya, and know that you will continue to inspire generations of writers and thinkers long after. I send all my love and prayers to her family and friends, may they find peace at this impossible time.

 

Below is one of my all time favorite poems of Maya Angelou’s, as cliche as it may be, I’ve always felt drawn to the words.

 

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
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 fearful trill
of the 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.

Leave a Reply