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DT: come reap
Posted on 2007.07.06 at 20:38
where am I: Thinking about bubbly.
How I feel about it all: drainedmy back hurts from my mattress
Soundtrack: not right now. Hmm.
Tags: , , ,
  • First of all, happy birthday, scriggle! I hope it's been a good one with many more to come. *cheers*

  • Finally getting to a recap of how cool it was to listen to Maya Angelou talk for an hour and a half. It felt just like I was sitting around some ancient campfire listening to the village wise woman. She's got such a presence. She's confident but not arrogant, and also has a kickass sense of humour. She talked about her childhood and about people who were "Rainbows" in her life. About her "crippled" uncle Willy, who gave more to more people than most able-bodied people will ever do. How she was raped at age eight by her mother's boyfriend and that she didn't speak for years after he was found dead not long after the rape because she thought her voice could kill people, and that the reason she's so good at languages was all the listening and reading she did all that time.

    She recited two poems: the first one, A Brave and Startling Truth, written for the fiftieth anniversary of the UN.

    We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
    Whose hands can strike with such abandon
    That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
    Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
    That the haughty neck is happy to bow
    And the proud back is glad to bend
    Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
    We learn that we are neither devils nor divines


    The second was Still I Rise That was the one she closed out with.

    Does my haughtiness offend you?
    Don't you take it awful hard
    'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
    Diggin' in my own back yard.

    You may shoot me with your words,
    You may cut me with your eyes,
    You may kill me with your hatefulness,
    But still, like air, I'll rise.


    She's a remarkable woman. Seriously. And confident enough to throw height jokes at the Mayor of Providence. Not to mention butchering his name, on purpose. :)

  • I think I'll do my big post o' bullet points later and leave this the way it is, because I don't want to clutter up this beautiful poetry with all that randomness. If you get a chance, read a bunch of her poems. And her books. And especially, if you ever get the chance to see her, do it, because you'll never forget it.

Comments:


scriggle
scriggle at 2007-06-07 22:12 (UTC) ()
Thank you! {hugs}
Umbralin
umbralin at 2007-06-08 06:48 (UTC) ()
Ah, that sounds wonderful. Maya Angelou is amazing, and I wish I could get the chance to see her too. I always carry around a tattered piece of paper with her Phenomenal Woman in my purse, because every time I read it, it gives me a small boost of confidence. :) I'm happy to hear that seeing her was such a great experience for you.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2007-06-08 16:05 (UTC) ()
Somewhere in my keepsakes I have a little booklet containing On The Pulse of Morning, the poem she wrote (and recited!) for President Clinton's first inauguration. I used to have it out, and I really should find it again. I'm thoroughly disgusted with the US political climate right now and reading that always makes me feel a little better.
A Revolutionary Biscuit of Italy
revbiscuit at 2007-06-08 17:13 (UTC) ()
Isn't Still I Rise fantastic? I love that poem. The first time I came across it, my mother-in-law was showing me this book of poetry by women and it blew my socks off. Then I volunteered for some E&D stuff at work and the Chair of the Trust turned up with a copy of it and read it as we were getting started with the meeting. I knew what was coming then, but it still nearly made me cry. Not with sadness mind, I just find it so inspiring.

There's so much hope, strength and self-knowledge crammed into it that I couldn't help but grin at your description of the woman in person. I wish I'd have been there too.
(Anonymous) at 2007-06-08 19:47 (UTC) ()
Isn't Still I Rise fantastic? I love that poem.

You should hear her do it in person. The audience went crazy when she read this part:

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?


She's in her late seventies, and she still manages to be completely sexy when she says that. She's a heck of a better role model than Paris or Britney or any of the poor little rich girls. I wish I could have brought my daughters, they would have loved her.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2007-06-08 19:50 (UTC) ()
Er. That was me. Stupid LJ doesn't know what it's doing. :/
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