Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Incomparable Maya Angelou

Before we begin, you must promise me something.  Promise me that you will read to the very end of this post.  You will not regret it - not because of any eloquence on my part but because of the awesomeness that is Maya Angelou.

The Lesson

I keep on dying again.
Veins collapse, opening like the
Small fists of sleeping
Memory of old tombs,
Rotting flesh and worms do
Not convince me against
The challenge. The years
And cold defeat live deep in
Lines along my face.
They dull my eyes, yet
I keep on dying,
Because I love to live. 

I love this poem by the beautiful Maya Angelou.  It's about hope and joy that is deep in your soul and not dependent on things we see with our eyes.  There's a saying that "seeing is believing". That is true of some things.  But i think that often we have to believe something in order to see it.  There's plenty of crap all around us but there is beauty and inspiration everywhere as well, it just isn't as obvious.  We have to look for it - external to ourselves as well as internally.  

The last two lines of this poem - "I keep on dying, Because I love to live" - have a slightly different message.  We do die when we love to live because loving life requires opening ourselves up to really experiencing life, which requires vulnerability.  And because the world is not perfect and people are human, we will inevitably die inside from time to time.  There's another saying that "Grief is the price of love".  It's true.  When we love, when we put ourselves out there and allow ourselves to really enjoy life, we are setting ourselves up to be hurt eventually.  But it's completely worth it because of the richness of life that we gain by seizing it and immersing ourselves in it.

In case you haven't heard Ms Angelou's story, you can read it here, on her own web site.  

Now, the promised jewel at the end of this post.  Maya reciting her poem "And Still I Rise".  Maya rocks!


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