Thursday, October 20, 2022

A Gathering of Poetry: October 2022

It's the third Thursday of the month so I'd like to welcome you to our second Gathering of Poetry post. Several friends and acquaintances have died recently so I have been thinking about them. When searching for a poem about death that still expressed comfort and hope, I came across this one. Maya Angelou wrote this poem upon hearing of James Baldwin’s death and read it at his funeral.

When Great Trees Fall
by Maya Angelou

When great trees fall,rocks on distant hills shudder,lions hunker downin tall grasses,and even elephantslumber after safety.When great trees fallin forests,small things recoil into silence,their senseseroded beyond fear.When great souls die,the air around us becomeslight, rare, sterile.We breathe, briefly.Our eyes, briefly,see witha hurtful clarity.Our memory, suddenly sharpened,examines,gnaws on kind wordsunsaid,promised walksnever taken.Great souls die andour reality, bound tothem, takes leave of us.Our souls,dependent upon theirnurture,now shrink, wizened.Our minds, formedand informed by theirradiance, fall away.We are not so much maddenedas reduced to the unutterable ignorance ofdark, coldcaves.And when great souls die,after a period peace blooms,slowly and alwaysirregularly. Spaces fillwith a kind ofsoothing electric vibration.Our senses, restored, neverto be the same, whisper to us.They existed. They existed.We can be. Be and bebetter. For they existed.====Angelou, Maya. "When Great Trees Fall." Celebrations: Rituals of Peace And Prayer, Random House, 2006.  You can read more about the poet here.====Thanks for reading and joining us for our second monthly Gathering of Poetry. Be sure to visit Kym and Kat so you can gather more poetry and you can add your link below if you would like to share one of your favorite poems. The more the merrier!

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  1. This is such a moving poem -- thank you for sharing it. I'm sorry you've lost loved ones recently, and I hope their memories will be a blessing to you.

  2. Wow, this poem! Maya Angelo had such a way with words. I think this poem is a lovely way to remember in the best possible way... Be and be better.

    I hope that the memories of those dear to you fill you and that their memories are a blessing to you! XO

  3. If you were seeking an uplifting poem about loss, you definitely found it. It's beautiful and comforting while also addressing loss and grieving. Thank you for sharing this, Bonny.

  4. This poem expresses grief so beautifully. Maya Angelou was such a gift to all of us. I have a signed copy of the poem she wrote for Clinton's inauguration hanging in my office.

  5. This is such a powerful poem, Bonny. Absolutely perfect. XO

  6. she is one of my all time favorite poets, so talented and very wise.

  7. Beuatiful words, and I'm sorry for your losses.

  8. What a beautiful poem. That last stanza is gorgeous. I need to revisit some of her poetry.

  9. (finally!) playing catch up this morning and I love that this is the last post of yours ... that poem is simply beautiful. I am printing it for my journal. Thank you!


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