The Happy Starfish

Living Mindfully & Celebrating Health, Happiness & Peaceful Living

Dr Maya Angelou – A brave and startling truth

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Dr Maya Angelou, one of the most influential women of our time, died at her home yesterday, aged 86.

Although renowned for many things, activist, singer, teacher, actress it was her words that touched me most. ‘I know why the caged bird sings,’ is a book that stayed with me long after I had turned the final page. It taught me a lot in terms of living fearlessly despite difficult circumstances. I wrote Maya’s quote ‘You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them’, in the front of my journal following my accident and it inspired me to remain positive.

Here is a poem of Maya’s that I love. You can read a full biography of Maya at her official website.

 

A brave and startling truth

Maya Angelou

 

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Author: thehappystarfish - living mindfully

Louise Jensen is an award winning Naturopathic Kinesiologist, Mindfulness Meditation Coach and Nutritional Therapist, and is certified in many other therapies, including the Mind Detox Method (as featured on Discovery Health) where she graduated from the Mind Detox Academy in record time. Louise has overcome living with a disability and has 13 years experience helping others to heal, and shares her experiences through freelance writing. In 2012, Louise co-created The Happy Starfish, dedicated to celebrating health, happiness and peaceful living. Louise offers Mindfulness Coaching via workshops and Skype and specialises in anxiety, depression and chronic pain.

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