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.
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.