Maya Angelou

Angelou reciting her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at US president Bill Clinton’s inauguration, January 20, 1993 (1)

Dr. Angelou (1928-2014) is one of my heroes. In the course of doing this write-up, I learned that she and I share the same first name—Marguerite. I had known of her and learned more when she gave the poem at President Clinton’s inauguration. Yet it wasn’t until I was asked to read this poem as a eulogy that the force of her genius hit me where I live.  Later, her discussion with Oprah Winfrey about the experience of “being pecked to death by ducks” helped me to own the hard work and sacrifices I had made to do the work that I do. She was a master of statements that went directly to the core, for example:

Have enough courage to trust love one more time,

And always one more time.

We are blessed to have so many videos of her speaking her mind—even more powerful than her words on a page—although her words can seem to leap off the page, for example:

I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.

Courage. Grabbing the world. Kicking ass. Trusting love.

Thank you, Dr. Angelou!

In Her Own Words (2)

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ~ Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

“When someone shows you who they are believe them the first time.”

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” ~Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter

“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.”

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

“A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her.”

Maya Angelou – One On One (1983)
Maya Angelou Live and Unplugged
Interview with Maya Angelou for “The Great Depression”
Dr. Maya Angelou at Evergreen, “Rainbow in the Clouds.”