I Honour One Of The Most Incredible Women Of The Past Century, With Her Words: RIP Maya Angelou

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away.”

Maya-Angelou

All over the world fans are remembering one of the most incredible poetry writers and inspirational woman of the last century with some of her most memorable quotes and outstanding pieces of advice.

The famed writer, educator and civil rights activist passed away on Wednesday morning at the age of 86 – what a wonderful and long life.

Her credits include: three Grammy awards, the best-selling autobiography “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” a Pulitzer Prize nomination for her film “Georgia, Georgia,” and countless others which  include the Presidential Medal of Arts and the Lincoln Medal.

But of all things this “Phenomenal Woman” is probably best remembered for her words.

When Maya Angelou spoke to a sold-out crowd at SU’s Goldstein Auditorium for the 2004 Women’s Leadership Program. She sang gospel songs, recited a few of her favourite works and shared her own life lessons – including the importance of laughter.

“If we don’t laugh, we will shrivel up…and die, ” she said – with a laugh.

Angelou recounted her struggles with being raped by her mother’s boyfriend when she was 7, yet insisted both men and women have the power to be “phenomenal.” She also beamed with pride at her successes that her grandmother knew she was capable of this long before she knew it herself.

To me, a writer and quote lover, she was the epitome of excellence. Each poem, song or quote she penned motivated and enhanced me in so many areas of my life. It is difficult to even write about this mentor, muse and role model as my words fall so far short of even a single sentence she uttered.

So in honour of one of my favourite writers, instead of trying to put pen to paper myself, I would like to rather share a few of my favourite Maya Angelou quotes and a poem.

RIP you beautiful inspiration. A butterfly you have now become. Beautiful and free.

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I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

Maya Angelou

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3 thoughts on “I Honour One Of The Most Incredible Women Of The Past Century, With Her Words: RIP Maya Angelou

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