What Maya Taught Me


Yesterday, many of us read the news of Maya Angelou’s passing. I’ve refrained from using the word ‘sad’ because of my belief in the afterlife. Also believing in that idea that Maya will guide and inspire us from her place in heaven.

Although not here in the physical form, it is her words that will live on. So, she will continue to live on; in our hearts and in spirit.

Maya has inspired many, myself include, with her words through poetry. I recall being introduced to poetry after reading one of her poems at school. Up until then I’d found poetry boring. I didn’t really get it. Just a mix, a jumble of words put together in a way that has no real meaning. But Maya’s poetry was different. Somehow it made sense. The words took on a whole new meaning.

Listening to her words as I read each poem, I learnt the value of looking beyond the surface and going beyond what I see/hear. The value of listening to each word. Listening with my heart, nor just my ears. It was then that meaning, hidden truth and wisdom emerged. Words had suddenly taken on a whole new meaning as I understood the beauty and power they could awaken. This was the beginning of my love affair with the written word. Although, it wasn’t until later in life that it all settled within me, making perfect, beautiful and complete sense.

So, I will leave you with my favourite quote from Maya. It strikes a cord with me for many reasons, sometimes these change depending on the situation or where I am at in my life. Today, it has meaning to me because although I cannot remember the words of the poem I read that day in school I have not forgotten how she (the poem and the words) made me feel.