She is Rising Again – A Tribute to Maya Angelou

I got acquainted to this phenomenal woman during my hard times. I recall listening to her poem “Still I Rise”. I felt large, so large that my hardships immediately became minuscule. Then one day I sat down to write what was stealing away my joy. And that was the beginning of my relationship, with a woman I came to nickname “my literary mama”. She became my favourite poet, teacher and now spirit mentor.

Maya Angelou, you guided, inspired and at times scolded me like a mother does a daughter, both in my writing and life. Whenever circumstances failed me, whether it was a rejected manuscript, failed promotion, misunderstood for being a snob, unhealthy maternal state or sidelined for being who I am, I saw your finger pointing high above, leading me to claim “naturally, there I go rising”. And I rose through a poem, a quote, an essay, provoking status and/or a courageous smile. For your book “A Letter to My Daughter”, you wrote and recited a letter full of love to a thousand daughters you never had. Believe me when I say, you have had many daughters around the world than your daring heart could comprehend. And I am proud to be one of them.

In 2013, I participated for the first time in the US-based National Poetry Writing Month (also known as NaPoWriMo). The first day prompt was to write a poem that has the same first line as another poem. I chose the first line and ended up rewriting Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise”, an act of parody that I would prefer to call it “Trashing Maya’s poems lovingly”.

Thank you dear mama.

PS: I am not done trashing your poems lovingly!



Yes I know
someday we’ll fly away.
Yet I sit here and
shed tears for whom
I’ve never met.

Your bravery taught me
it’s okay to embrace equality.
Write without fear
bring it home
with gentle words.

Your audacity guided me
it’s okay to fight injustice.
Rebuke without lies
break it
with eloquent words.

I dare write of
raw feelings
condemned love
imperfect body and
phenomenal spirits.

Maya, oh Maya!
I see you rising
free like no caged bird.
Swaying your grace
with notable laughter.

Thank you
for guiding me
to love and laugh


Recent Comments

Leave a Comment