Maya Angelou

Use Poetry

“Don’t use the phone. People are never ready to answer it. Use poetry.”

-Jack Kerouac

 

Last week I had a blog post ready to go but I didn’t publish it. I liked it, and it was truthful, but it felt sorta “venty” and not in the good way. I may publish it one day but for now it is drafted and saved in my “maybe” pile. It was a post all about my frustrations with yoga and all the shit that’s going on right now, but I didn’t want to be seen as judgey or that I was following suit with all the other personalized “venty” pieces going on. I then made a commitment to make two posts in one week– at this rate it’s going to be two posts in two weeks *insert upside smiley emoji*. As I was thinking about what I wanted to write I saw an IG post that it was National Poetry Month. Voila! There is my inspiration–sharing some of my favorite poems. So here ya go! Longer poems will be excerpted and hyperlinked.

 

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*Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

Men themselves have wondered

What they see in me.

They try so much but they can’t see

My inner mystery.

When I try to show them,

They still can’t see.

I say:

It’s in the arch of my back,

The sun of my smile,

The ride of my breasts,

The grace of my style.

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman

That’s me.

 

*A Poem for Trapped Things by John Wieners

The blue diamonds on your back

are too beautiful to do

away with.

I watch you

all morning

long.

With my hand over  my mouth.

 

*Song of Myself by Walt Whitman

I too am not a bit tamed…I am too untranslatable,

I sound by barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.

The last scud of day holds back for me,

It flings my likeness after the rest and true as any on the shadowed wilds.

It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk.

I depart as air…I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,

I effuse my flesh in eddies and drift it in lacy jags.

I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love.

If you want me again look for me under your bootsoles.

You will hardly know who I am or what I mean.

 

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*She by Theodore Roethke

We sing together; we sing mouth to mouth.

The garden is a river flowing south.

She cries out loud the soul’s own secret joy;

She dances, and the ground bears her away.

She knows the speech of light and makes it plain.

A lively thing can come to life again.

 

*Borrowed Feet by Michael McClure

LOVE ME FOR THE FOOL I AM

(the laughing angel-imbecile)

The thrill

of kissing you

is seeing me reflected

in your eyes.

We try for purity

but

still

we’re glorious

blobs

of meat.

 

*Love Song by William Carlos Williams

I lie here thinking of you…

the stain of love

is upon the world!

Yellow, yellow, yellow

it eats into the leaves,

smears with saffron.

the horned branch that lean heavily against a smooth purple sky!

There is no light

only a honey thick stain

that drips from leaf to leaf

and limb to limb.

Spoiling the colors of the whole world.

You far off there under the wine red salvage of the West!

 

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*Feeling is First by e.e. cummings

since feeling is first

who pays attention

to the syntax of things

will never wholly kiss you;

 

wholly to be a fool

while Spring is in the world

 

my blood approves,

and kisses are a far better fate

than wisdom

lady I swear by all the flowers. Don’t cry

–the best gesture of my brain is less than

your eyelids’ flutter which says

 

we are for each other: then

laugh leaning back in my arms

for life’s not a paragraph

 

And death I think is no parenthesis

**********

What are your favorite poems? Who are your favorite poets? Do you have a style that you like more than another? I tend to favor Beat Poetry and Free Verse. I also tend to love poetry that speaks to me on a deeper level, like I can see myself in it. What do you think makes poetry special and unique?

I’m a woman, W-O-M-A-N…

March is Women’s History Month so I want to share some of my favorite female role models, inspiring women, with you today. It is hard to really pin down my favorites or those who have made an impact on my life/lives of other females.  Sometimes making a list brings out the worst of the perfectionist in me because I always feel like I am excluding someone or missing out, maybe even offending someone. So I am not going to worry about it. I will stick with ten women and that will help me stay on track.

The following women below all have one or more of these qualities: strength, beauty, class, humanitarianism, fights for rights, artistic, pioneers in their field of work, hard working, religious, bravery, a champion, and can serve as a role model.

1) Audrey Hepburn

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“The beauty in a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart; the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It’s the caring and that she lovingly gives the passion that she shows and the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.”

2) Maya Angelou

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If you have not noticed from previous entries, especially:  https://imageoftheheart.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/when-you-dont-know-what-to-say-let-maya-angelou-do-the-speaking/

3) Loretta Lynn

3) June Carter Cash

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Fun fact:   June learned to play autoharp by her mother Maybelle Carter.  The Carter’s are from VA.

4) Condoleeza Rice

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Fun fact: She is the ONLY female who belongs to Augusta. Which is an all male golf club that holds the Masters Tournament.

5) Gloria Steinem

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6) Isadora Duncan

7) Pina Bausch

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Check out my previous entry on Pina here to learn more about her and see some of her work:

https://imageoftheheart.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/dance-dance-or-we-all-are-lost/

8) Rachel Carson

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“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” Silent Spring

9) Michelle Kwan

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Who didn’t want to be her in the 90s? I had the necklace and all the books. Kwan was the reason I took up figure skating in elementary school.

10) Oprah Winfrey

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When you don’t know what to say, let Maya Angelou do the talking

Right now I am working on a few different topics for my next entries but nothing ready yet to publish. As I sit here thinking about what to write, I realize I don’t have much to say that is short, precise, moving, and gets the theme of this blog. So, why not let one of my favorite poets, Maya Angelou, say what I can’t. Enjoy!

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*One of my favorite poems of hers. I just love watching her facial expressions in this video.

*Check out Phenomenal Woman if you have never read it. That poem will make you feel great about being a woman. If you struggle with body image, ED’s, or lack of confidence, this poem really points out the beauty that all women have. The way she writes it, you can’t help but believe that YOU are phenomenal. Which YOU ARE!

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*Are you in harmony?

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*Love others…

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*How us older women need to live our lives to show the next generation of women that it is ok to be strong and kick ass…

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*Aren’t we glad that not one person is a like? How boring would life be if that was the case…

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*The following quote is one of my ALL TIME FAVORITES if Dr. Angelou’s

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*The Rock Cries Out To Us Today

A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Mark the mastodon.
The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.
But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.
I will give you no hiding place down here.
You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.
Your mouths spelling words
Armed for slaughter.
The rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.
Across the wall of the world,
A river sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.
Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.
Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.
Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more.
Come, clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I
And the tree and stone were one.
Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your brow
And when you yet knew you still knew nothing.
The river sings and sings on.
There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing river and the wise rock.
So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew,
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek,
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the tree.
Today, the first and last of every tree
Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the river.
Plant yourself beside me, here beside the river.
Each of you, descendant of some passed on
Traveller, has been paid for.
You, who gave me my first name,
You Pawnee, Apache and Seneca,
You Cherokee Nation, who rested with me,
Then forced on bloody feet,
Left me to the employment of other seekers—
Desperate for gain, starving for gold.
You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot…
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru,
Bought, sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.
Here, root yourselves beside me.
I am the tree planted by the river,
Which will not be moved.
I, the rock, I the river, I the tree
I am yours—your passages have been paid.
Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.
History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced with courage,
Need not be lived again.
Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.
Give birth again
To the dream.
Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.
Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts.
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.
Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.
The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me,
The rock, the river, the tree, your country.
No less to Midas than the mendicant.
No less to you now than the mastodon then.
Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister’s eyes,
Into your brother’s face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.