Maya Angelou died today at the age of 86. A friend of mine posted A Conceit, one of her poems, online, and it’s small and lovey. It begins:
Give me your hand
Make room for me
to lead and follow
beyond this rage of poetry.
This poem makes me think of an essay I read by Mary Karr called Facing Altars: Poetry and Prayer. In it she writes:
From a very early age, when I read a poem, it was as if the poet’s burning taper touched some charred filament in my rib cage to set me alight. Somehow—long before I’d published—that connection even extended from me outward. Lifting my face from the page, I often faced my fellow creatures with less dread. Maybe secreted in one of them was an ache or tenderness similar to the one I’d just eaten of.
Which makes me think of all that Angelou has done with her witness and her words to connect us and change us for the better. Rest in Peace.