Having courage does not mean that we are unafraid. Having courage and showing courage means we face our fears. We are able to say, “I have fallen, but I will get up”.

-Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou’s “When Great Trees Fall”

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
gnaws on kind words
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.


O’ ma,
You’re the first person I heard…
Way before the world opened its doors to me.
You cradled me as I fell asleep
Listening to your heartbeat.
Your face glowed with joy
As you watched me sleeping,
Slowly breathing in and out.
You’re the first person I called out to
And you were the first to call back.
You’re the first to call back…
Your handful of smiles
Sheds light to my world,
Your understanding and worry
Veils me from it.
Your maternal love
Shows me how to care.
You are my North Star.
You were then,
You are now,
And you always will be.

A Knock At The Door

He comes and knocks on the glass door
With his beak,
His wings thrashing against it
As he calls me to come and feed him.
I smile.

As I slide the door with food in hand,
He calms down, lands on the ground,
And walks to and fro with his feathered feet.

He’s glad to be out and stretching.

He gobbles up the food I give him
So he’ll be energized
Throughout the next shift.

They’re giving it their all
And this time, for sure,
I know there’s going to be a new acquaintance
In our midst.
He came again;
I was not there when he knocked at the door.
But he knew where to find me.
He flew up and knocked on my bedroom window instead.