One year ago, on May 28, 2014, we lost one of the most prolific female writers and poets of our lifetime. Her work inspired and empowered us all. We at Winyan Press, LLC are grateful for the path she laid for female writers across the world and for her lasting legacy. We will always remember you, Maya Angelou, a truly Phenomenal Woman!
The Little Black Girl from Stamps
(Read at the Unveiling of Dr. Maya Angelou’s Forever Stamp)
In this time of chaos and conflict, toil and turmoil,
Faces of need stare back wherever the eyes are cast;
one need not search to find the pain of hunger and fear.
We are haunted still by the ills of our wayward past.
Thus, there are those who find there’s little reason to hope.
They question with smirks and discount with cynical ease
the uplifting ladders of our close held faith and dreams,
saying these have no more substance than the gentlest breeze
For the unsustained there’s no rock on which they rely.
They have no shield against the cold, probing hands of doubt.
They waste the ticking moments of their days in routines,
avoiding the dreams they know not how to bring about.
I point to the life of the little Black girl from Stamps
Whose words and actions on this day we honor here
who marched past all the heartbreaks and the countless set backs;
against hate and ignorance she learned to persevere.
The gentlest breeze grew in force and began to keen
Far above the tortured earth upon which she trod;
Yes, she believed in the evidence of things not seen.
So, she sent her prayers to the very gates of God.
For her faith was as solid as the old, weathered rock.
With heart in hand she stepped out on His Word and believed.
She spoke out in clarion tones for justice and truth
And look at what that little Black girl from Stamps achieved.
She told us that we are more alike than unalike;
That Black or White, gay or straight, none should be rejected,
That we need to stand tall for we’re made in God’s image.
We are all humans here and that needs to be respected.
She has passed from this plane and is now in the firmament
but her lessons remain: Keep on reaching, don’t be coy;
when you got, give; when you learn, teach; you were paid for;
And as important, never-never stop your striving for joy.
Guy B. Johnson
source: Caged Bird Legacy, LLC