Poet and Author Maya Angelou Dies at 86

The world has lost one of its greatest contributors on this day. Rest in peace Maya Angelou.

Maya Angelou (Photo Credit: Bob Richman, 2010 Harpo Inc.)

Today the world has lost one of its greatest contributors in the death of Maya Angelou. Author, civil rights advocate, educator, poet, and kindred spirit of many, Angelou died in her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Her writing touched the hearts of many, from her autobiographical series which included the critically-acclaimed book “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” to her poems such as “Still I Rise” and “Phenomenal Woman.” She encouraged women and men alike to tap into their potential for greatness. Her presence was commanding, she was like an elder for the world leading us with wisdom and grace. And who could forget that voice? Many of us remember what it was like the first time we heard “Still I Rise” and how we were struck by the power of her voice made that much more powerful by her words. She did not leave us without sharing one last word of encouragement. She did this, last week, through what would be her last tweet:

“Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.” @DrMayaAngelou

Today that tweet went from 892 retweets prior to the announcement of her passing, to well over 25,000 retweets. This is a testament to the enduring power of Maya Angelou’s work. We also hope that many will heed her last public words and many more will continue to be encouraged by the legacy of work this legendary women left us.

Rest in peace Maya Angelou, the original Phenomenal Woman.



  1. Ever

    Ever watch children at play?
    Especially toddlers
    Little boys all chubby and
    awkward really are ‘bam bams’
    they are the noisy conductors,
    directors, hunters
    Little girls are all ‘priscillas’
    soft, tender
    baby fat hands gracefully
    doing their thing, legs moving
    them ballerina style
    around and around
    so content, so happy they are
    in their very own world of make believe

    Ever notice when one of them
    gets hurt real bad and bleeds?
    they drop their pretending
    and get serious
    one runs and gets the authority
    another becomes the authority
    at least three or four surround
    the injured with pats on the back
    “Don’t cry Fifi…you’re gonna’
    be alright.”
    and won’t leave until
    “You okay Fifi?”

    And when the little authority sees the
    big authority she explains all she’s
    done and what needs to be done
    “Thanks you’re such a big girl.”
    “I know.”

    then they all go back to being
    ‘bam bams’ and ‘priscillas’
    the caring pretenders
    in a brave new world


    contentment, not complacency is where He lands you
    so that wherever you find yourself, wherever I find myself
    we have the satisfaction of His transforming Presence
    making the dump, or the ash heap seem like the most palacial dwelling
    making the palace in essence the choicest corner of heaven
    soothing the mind, refreshing it like cool water flowing through
    in the worst drought ever
    it is the richness of the love in the faith He gives
    which allows us to know the peace that surpasses all comprehension
    right where we are, as He transforms the scenes of our lives for His
    from highest splendor all the way to squalor; from squalor all the way to the highest splendor
    where are you today?
    isn’t it lovely?

    For the Love of Money
    Someone said, someone said, and someone else said
    “How would you like to have some big money”?
    When I learned who would give it, how to get it, and how much it was I said,
    “Tell all of them to stop their tripping about play dough. No amount of money, real or imagined can ever pay for the losses spawned by its quest.
    I have paid my dues in the hard, hard, hard, hard, hard, hard, hard, hard work of, ‘staying alive, staying alive’.
    So if there is any profit to be had, tell them to keep it, or give it to a favorite charity.
    “God alone brings justice, life, protection, true prosperity.
    That’s what I believe. He is whom I believe.
    So, thanks anyway”.


    Asked my girlfriend yesterday,
    “I wonder if Maya would
    would like me?”
    Her answer reminded me of
    something Jesus said,
    “It is better to give than to receive.”
    “Here’s my love Maya!”

    Final to Maya
    Know why your fear made you mute
    Know why mine made me scream
    Know that
    He sees
    He hears
    He cares
    Know that He loves me, us, all
    Know that He can do
    whatever He wants
    whenever He wants
    Know that He is good
    Know that He is God
    Know that He makes no mistakes
    Know that He makes all things right
    in His time
    Know also,
    it’s not too late to turn on mute…
    when He tells me to

    A Human Being

    not a whiner Maya, an expresser of rage
    that no one cared enough to even try to understand…
    to look just a little closer…which was all I needed

    not a victim Maya, but a bantamweight fighter going
    in to Goliath with the weight of my title, my people,
    all people wrapped inside my spirit, and deep inside
    my soul

    not a phony Maya, but an ordinary black coal
    a chosen rock, with realness buried too far
    for shallow eyes to perceive
    bearing etchings too cumbersome
    for weak eyes to know
    that beneath all the soot was the unmistakable
    glow of a diamond

    not a quitter Maya,
    but a patient sitter waiting for
    the Power that prayers free
    to give me the strength that
    He alone bestows
    to move…on up a little higher

    Maya, not a clown to put down
    or mock, as so pathetically laughable
    as to deserve the cruelty dispensed

    but a HUMAN BEING, Maya
    created in GOD’S own image

    that spoiled men and women
    hounded, wounded, maimed, shamed
    because they could

    not a “thing”, Maya, but a willing servant
    whom my Savior bought with His blood
    rescuing me, giving me the honor of His good name
    His eyes breaking through barriers laden with false hopes
    shining His light on the truth of what’s there…

    love for Him, love for you, love for others
    love even for the spoiled
    crouching in a corner of my heart
    trembling for redemption
    and now awaits the wrath
    of cowards

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