Archives for posts with tag: Maya Angelou

by Debra B. Hori

Here are words,
words I found
this August morning,
words that tell
how my heroine,
poet, inspiration,
how she found
her voice:

Mrs. Flowers,
a lady in my town,
a black lady,
had started me
to reading
when I was about eight.
When I was about eleven
and a half,
she said to me
one day,
“Do you love poetry?”
I never spoke.
I used to carry
a tablet
around on which
I wrote answers.
She asked me,
“Do you love poetry?”
I wrote, “Yes.”
She told me,
“You do not love poetry.
You will never love it until
you speak it.
Until it comes across your tongue,
through your teeth,
over your lips,
you will never love poetry.”
And I ran out of her house.
I thought:
I’ll never go back there again.
She was trying to take my friend.
I’d run away,
and every time she’d see me
she would just threaten
to take my friend.
Finally, I did take a book,
a book of poetry,
and I went
under the house,
and I tried
to speak,
and I could.

Now I say,
Thank you,
Thank you, Mrs. Flowers,
for saying,
“You will never love poetry.”
to that silent,
little girl,
Maya Angelou.

SOURCE: Terry Gross interview with Maya Angelou on Fresh Air (National Public Radio, 1986).

IMAGE: Maya Angelou (1928-2014) as a child in Stamps, Arkansas.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Maya Angelou spoke in poetry. It is particularly poignant that she, who had such a resounding, beautiful voice, did not speak when she was a child. She had her reasons. As a memorial to Maya Angelo, I wanted to find some of her words and format them as a poem. This is how we experienced her spoken words. That was easy to do, for whenever Maya Angelo opened her mouth, out came poetry! Maya Angelo should have credit for this poem, not I. I simply found it and brought it home.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Debra B. Hori writes about the normal, everyday-ness of grief, love, nature, and other exquisitely ordinary things. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, This I, and For Readers Edification & Debauchery (FRE&D). She lives in Pasadena with her two cats and her son. Visit her at

by Thom Amundsen

I have tears this evening
Pools, welling in my eyes
Imagining a spirit soaring
Streaking across our skies.
Hers, a delightful voice
Allowing us our choice
To recognize the human condition
To celebrate her marvelous vision.

We were hearing your words
Welcoming a stately event
All of us gave pause afterwards
This new sound began an advent.
Hers, a delightful voice
Allowing us our choice
Realizing today we have a mission
Heartfelt we wish only inclusion

You spoke eloquent verse
Eyes that recognized nature
Passion of a healing nurse
We needed a path mature
Hers, a delightful voice
Allowing us our choice
We are a society driven by a common
Ground; shrieks to lessen the demon.

That day, you shouted aloud
Spoke of nations, of people
A message of love so loud
Tipping the cynic’s steeple
Hers, a delightful voice
Allowing us our choice
Know today we have made a decision
Sweet words shall stifle our aggression

Remind me your love today
Compassion, delight in real
Moments may lead our way
Paths we may reach surreal,
Hers, a delightful voice
Allowing us our choice
When will our song bury oppression
Live wise, sing Maya’s lasting impression

© Thom Amundsen 2014

IMAGE: Maya Angelou, poet & author (1928-2014).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Thom Amundsen has been writing poetry nearly all his life, but recently attacked it with a feverish urgency, enjoying dabbling in many different variations of verse. He is a family man, teacher, director of theater, and an uncertain poet. Visit him at