Google, today, honored Maya Angelou on what would be her 90th b-day. They did this with a Google Doodle of one of her famous poems: “Still I Rise” https://g.co/doodle/hqbawy?ds=em I like this poem well enough but wish they wouldn’t have chopped it up with guest readers. Too sappy for my taste. Safe. Accessible. Vanilla for the masses.
Reaching for a collection of her poems on my shelf and thumbing through it one is reminded of so many less safe (for children) challenging, Rocky-Road with Tabasco on top… pieces; poems that I wouldn’t consider reprinting here. She was brave, raw, and real much of the time. She’s not my favorite poet but she could really “bring it” sometimes and I am so grateful she wrote and grateful I’ve had a chance to read some of her books and much of her poetry.
Here’s a poem I came across while flipping through her book just now: (still safe for young readers)
Thus she had lain
sugar cane sweet
deserts her hair
golden her feet
mountains her breasts
two Niles her tears
Thus she has lain
Black through the years.
Over the white seas
rime white and cold
took her young daughters
sold her strong sons
churched her with Jesus
bled her with guns.
Thus she has lain.
Now she is rising
remember her pain
remember the losses
her screams loud and vain
remember her riches
her history slain
now she is striding
although she had lain.
Google. Thank you for reminding me of Maya Angelou today.
Perhaps the World Ends Here
by Joy Harjo
The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.
The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.
We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.
It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women.
At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.
Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back together once again at the table.
This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.
Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate the terrible victory.
We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for burial here.
At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks.
Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.
For that free Grace bringing us past great risks
& thro’ great griefs surviving to this feast
sober & still, with the children unborn and born,
among brave friends, Lord, we stand again in debt
and find ourselves in the glad position: Gratitude.
We praise our ancestors who delivered us here
within warm walls all safe, aware of music,
likely toward ample & attractive meat
with whatever accompaniment
Kate in her kind ingenuity has seen fit to devise,
and we hope—across the most strange year to come—
continually to do them and You not sufficient honour
but such as we become able to devise
out of decent or joyful conscience & thanksgiving.
Bless then, as Thou wilt, this wilderness board.
by Sunbry Fieldhat
Zane Grey slipped near the drain
losing his never to be forever balance
He was often careless like this
lost in the milieu of millennial-like
reflections on self, and life, and the careless
way he stepped, reflected the careless way he
Losing touch with the ground was simply
body following mind
Inevitably and quickly
his brain case,
filled with brief wonder,
closed the gap
met the ledge
A robust stream
slipped warmly down
His girl, exasperated,
having made allowances
for his flitting mind and
inattentive hands heard the
thud but didn’t move
better to let hope rub a rush to heat
than call 911 right away