The Importance of Voice From Maya Angelou


I don’t remember which Maya Angelou poem it was,

but I heard voice.

The choice to sing out,

to align letters and sculpt mood.

Maya made rubies out of wood.


I heard a woman, stark, celebrating

though she’d been a slave,

bruises deep as ancestral scars;

Her stories brought out the

stars on an obsidian night.


She had the words to sing

though she’d been harmed.

She’d also been formed with love

and lumps of soft clay.

This woman had style, phenomenally.


Grace to look at the truth of things and smile;

such was her Hope.


She had sass and swing and enough spring to make

showers of thousands of powdery puffs

flit onto the sisters of her generation.

She commanded mesmerisation.


Ms. Angelou showed us elegance in cotton,

grandeur in the sweat of penning a memoir.

That a true-life-hymn could spring up from my soul.

That lonely words could be straightened out with Joy

and human rights.


She showed me swinging hips and education,

that writing that made me giggle and trust

with anticipation–

all might be well in the morning.

She shared with me, Voice.


Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister’s eyes, into
Your brother’s face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning. 

–Maya Angelou

Here is a  video of her own gorgeous voice

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