M- Dr Maya Angelou Replies.

Heart Hands red heart

“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” Maya Angelou.

Dear Rowena,

It’s been such a pleasure to meet you and thanks for the stopover, albeit brief.

I really enjoyed chatting with you over a glass of Iced Tea. Although I can’t say I enjoyed your Vegemite, those Tim Tams were divine! Indeed, I’d be truly grateful if you could please send me some more. Meanwhile, I’ve enclosed a signed copy of: Letters For My Daughter. I hope it’s what you’re looking for.

“Occasionally, all too, we meet people briefly yet the immediate trust we feel, informs us that bonds have been forged, forged forever on the pulse of a day or a week’s closeness.1.”

By the way, I like what you are doing with this series of Letters to Dead Poets who have inspired you over the years and retracing your steps as you go.

“We are braver and wiser because they existed, those strong women and strong men… We are who we are because they were who they were. It’s wise to know where you come from, who called your name.”

“I find in my poetry and prose the rhythms and imagery of the best – I mean, when I’m at my best – of the good Southern black preachers. The lyricism of the spirituals and the directness of gospel songs and the mystery of blues are in my music or in my poetry and prose, or I missed everything.”

You have such an adventurous, inquiring mind. Keep those questions coming. I can’t promise that you’ll always find the answers but never give up trying.You never know what you’re going to learn along the way and even if you do end up somewhere off the beaten track, perhaps that where you were meant to be all along.


Rather than writing anything too structured, I thought I’d simply share a few thoughts:

“The need for change bulldozed a road down the center of my mind.”

“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.” However, this letter will have to do.”

“I’m working at trying to be a Christian, and that’s serious business. It’s like trying to be a good Jew, a good Muslim, a good Buddhist, a good Shintoist, a good Zoroastrian, a good friend, a good lover, a good mother, a good buddy – it’s serious business.”

“Everybody born comes from the Creator trailing wisps of glory. We come from the Creator with creativity. I think that each one of us is born with creativity.”

“Of course, there are those critics – New York critics as a rule – who say, ‘Well, Maya Angelou has a new book out and of course it’s good but then she’s a natural writer.’ Those are the ones I want to grab by the throat and wrestle to the floor because it takes me forever to get it to sing. I work at the language.”

amelia heart painting

My daughter’s painting

“All great artists draw from the same resource: the human heart, which tells us that we are all more alike than we are unalike.”

“When the human race neglects its weaker members, when the family neglects its weakest one – it’s the first blow in a suicidal movement. I see the neglect in cities around the country, in poor white children in West Virginia and Virginia and Kentucky – in the big cities, too, for that matter.”

Kids Angels Uniting Church 2008

“You can’t forgive without loving. And I don’t mean sentimentality. I don’t mean mush. I mean having enough courage to stand up and say, ‘I forgive. I’m finished with it.'”

“Self-pity in its early stage is as snug as a feather mattress. Only when it hardens does it become uncomfortable.”

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”

“Eating is so intimate. It’s very sensual. When you invite someone to sit at your table and you want to cook for them, you’re inviting a person into your life.”

“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.”

Keeping writing! “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”


Please note that words in quotation marks are direct quotes from Dr Maya Angelou and the rest of this letter is fictional but written, I hope, is keeping with her outlook xx Rowena

8 thoughts on “M- Dr Maya Angelou Replies.

  1. roweeee Post author

    That’s incredible timing. I’ll pop over and check it out. Like when I only found Kahlil Gibran’s “The Prophet” about 5 years ago, I wish I’d found her sooner. Living in Australia, you get exposed to quite a different range of poets and writers. I naturally grew up with English and Australian poets but over the last few years I’ve ventured into Gibran, Rumi, Tagore…quite a different tradition and feel so blessed to find them…along with Maya Angelou. I’ll never stop learning and pursuing pure poetry xx Rowena

  2. Gulara

    Yes, there’s something so powerful in their words. Love them all – Gibran, Rumi, Tagore – so much inspiration and deep meaning.

  3. Alka Girdhar

    A unique way of integrating such inspirational quotes within a single post!
    “Although I can’t say I enjoyed your Vegemite, those Tim Tams were divine!”

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