May 28, 2014

White Dog grew up listening to me read Maya Angelou and the works of other poets to her. For many of the early years when she was an only child it was a tradition that she and I would take a break in the middle of the afternoon, cuddle on the bed, and spend a couple of hours reading, often aloud.

She perhaps more than the rest of the White Dog Army, who still get read to but not with the frequency of our once quieter less demanding day, fears that with the Master wordsmith's passing today that the world has become less wonderful.

WD and I ask the Universe to to allow the gentle vibrant voice whose words filled the soul and changed perceptions to never be stilled. May her works continue to inspire and challenge generations to contemplate and seek insight that will spur actions that make the world better.

I was blessed in the richness of my education to be exposed to Maya Angelou and many others at a pivotal time as I was being formed. The amazement as I discovered the power and magic of words took my breath away and like a devoted apprentice I devoured words, spoken and written, that had the ability to touch hearts, sway opinions, take your breath...make you feel one-ness. I learned that no force had a greater strength than words spoken truly, genuinely, and from the depths of your being.

Forever Maya's quiet, confident delivery of her words that uplifted and empowered will echo in my head and guide my attempts to communicate and comment upon issues that are vital in my world. I share White Dog's sense of loss but I glory in the fact that Maya Angelou left such a remarkable body of work and legacy.

Tonight after dinner, the entire White Dog Army, Steve and I will join together to read, candle lit, and to honor this incredible woman, activist, writer...changer of worlds.

A Brave and Startling Truth is one of my favorite of her works...and I DO believe we WILL come to it.

We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth

And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms

When we come to it
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate
And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean
When battlefields and coliseum
No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters
Up with the bruised and bloody grass
To lie in identical plots in foreign soil

When the rapacious storming of the churches
The screaming racket in the temples have ceased
When the pennants are waving gaily
When the banners of the world tremble
Stoutly in the good, clean breeze

When we come to it
When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders
And children dress their dolls in flags of truce
When land mines of death have been removed
And the aged can walk into evenings of peace
When religious ritual is not perfumed
By the incense of burning flesh
And childhood dreams are not kicked awake
By nightmares of abuse

When we come to it
Then we will confess that not the Pyramids
With their stones set in mysterious perfection
Nor the Gardens of Babylon
Hanging as eternal beauty
In our collective memory
Not the Grand Canyon
Kindled into delicious color
By Western sunsets

Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe
Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji
Stretching to the Rising Sun
Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor,
Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores
These are not the only wonders of the world

When we come to it
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace
We, this people on this mote of matter
In whose mouths abide cankerous words
Which challenge our very existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness
That the heart falters in its labor
And the body is quieted into awe

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it. 


Tweedles -- that's me said...

Such beautiful words, and beautiful meaning!

Gracie=^o.o^= said...

So sorry to hear that White Dog has run off to the bridge. Your post was beautiful. Sending hugs across the miles.

Siku Marie, White Dog said...

Sweet Gracie, White Dog is alive and well. It is our Fearless One, Little Oso, who left us to cross the Bridge. We miss him mightily...and know he is sitting at the knee of Maya Angelou listening to her wondrous words.