I’m a voracious reader, but not a particularly deep one.

I read for the story, the plot, the characters. I read quickly, and I’ll read the same books over and over and over again.  For the story.

I rarely read poetry.

But I appreciate good language. And writers not only with a command of their language, but the ability to put life into it.

Maya Angelou was such a writer.

I was lucky enough to be in her audience twice. I sat there, eyes closed, just listening to her words, her cadence, her message. In this day and age of sound bites and 7 second videos, she could weave her poetry with funny anecdotes and stern messages without skipping a beat for over 40 minutes without the audience even playing with their napkins.

I think this is one of my favorites of hers: Woman Work

I’ve got the children to tend
The clothes to mend
The floor to mop
The food to shop
Then the chicken to fry
The baby to dry
I got company to feed
The garden to weed
I’ve got shirts to press
The tots to dress
The can to be cut
I gotta clean up this hut
Then see about the sick
And the cotton to pick.

Shine on me, sunshine
Rain on me, rain
Fall softly, dewdrops
And cool my brow again.

Storm, blow me from here
With your fiercest wind
Let me float across the sky
‘Til I can rest again.

Fall gently, snowflakes
Cover me with white
Cold icy kisses and
Let me rest tonight.

Sun, rain, curving sky
Mountain, oceans, leaf and stone
Star shine, moon glow
You’re all that I can call my own.

God Speed, Maya Angelou. You and your beautiful voice will be sorely missed.

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