Poems are just songs without music. Words spoken with rhythm and rhyme, incantations sung with power and grace. And Maya Angelou had one of the most musical voices in poetry.
I don’t remember when I first heard this poem, but it’s always been the one I associate the most with her. I’ve never read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, so Maya Angelou has always been her poetry and voice for me. In school, we sometimes watched videos from a series she made about literature, and she helped bring it to life for me. (I don’t remember the name of the series, or what grade I was in; I think it might have been something she did for PBS or educational purposes.) The strength and joy she conveyed with just the tone of her voice, the love of language and writing that poured from her like light, that’s what made her special to me and so many others.
It was announced that Angelou passed away early this morning at her home in Winston-Salem, NC. And although her body is gone, her spirit will always live on in her words and teachings. My heart goes out to her family and friends.