I guess you have read that Maya Angelou died today. She had quite an amazing life, it must be said, growing up face to face with racism in St. Louis, being sexually abused by her mother’s boyfriend (who was jailed for just one day, but was murdered just four days after his release), which made her become mute for five years. As a young adult, she had various jobs, ” including fry cook, prostitute, night-club dancer and performer, cast-member of the opera Porgy and Bess, coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and journalist in Egypt and Ghana during the days of decolonization” (taken from Wikipedia) She later became an activist, marched alongside Martin Luther King, published books and poetry, as well as a director. An inspiration for women and the black population all over the world (I know that my cousin Hannah was especially fond of her).
At a quite fantastic 86 years young, she passed away today. I have to admit, I have not read too much of her work, but I am well aware of the book “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.” It is on my bookshelf back in Brum, and I wanted to bring it to Honduras. My stingy luggage allowance wouldn’t allow it. I am sure her book sales will increase by a few million over the next few months. I am including a link from the Guardian website with a few of her most inspiring quotes. I especially like, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you” , “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain” , “Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option” and my favourite, which I try to live by, “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” Here’s a link for you to check out: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/may/28/maya-angelou-in-fifteen-quotes.
My father told me on Sunday of another wonderful Tory decision was to cut American literature from English GCSEs. That means English teenagers won’t be embracing the likes of Arthur Miller, John Steinbeck, Joseph Heller, Ernest Hemingway, Ray Bradbury, Trueman Capote, Charles Buskowski and, last but definitely by no means least, Maya Angelou, in their studies. Some of these authors built my love of literature, inspired me to write myself, writing fantastic books which mark very important events in my own life. There are many other great American authors which have been left off my list. English literature is of course fantastic, with Shakespeare, Orwell, Dickens, Greene, Dahl, just to name a few, but my gosh, leaving English kids will miss out on Maya’s wisdom. And what kind of person would make a decision like this? Oh yes. A bleedin’ Tory. Who else! The man who chose to do this is Michael Gove, who if he prevents Irish literature entering the GCSE syllabus too, kids in England will lose a very important piece of language that describe people just like him, a feckin’ eejit!
Tonight, my housemate Wilmer has his six month old son in the house. His name is Aaron Emilio Gallardo, who is in the below photo with a very pretty young man indeed. He’s a Danli boy, his dad insists he’s a Real Madrid fan through and through, he says Papa and Gol a lot, and he has curly hair.
I am including a poem by Maya, which is a kind of “going out with the old and coming in with the new” type of poem, without wanting to sound so cold about Maya’s passing, but also look at new horizons as Aaron keeps growing into the little man he is. The poem is a celebration of life. The poem is called Passing Time. I rarely, if ever, include poetry by other people. In fact it’s a first. It’s short. It’s sweet. Enjoy.
Your skin like dawn
Mine like musk
One paints the beginning
of a certain end.
The other, the end of
a sure beginning.