“At Times Like This”: A Poem for Maya Angelou

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June 2 2014 12:01 PM

“At Times Like This”

A poem for Maya Angelou, by Nikki Giovanni.

Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou.

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

(for Maya Angelou)

At times like this
We measure our words
Because we are
Measuring a life

A friend was not
Lost nor did she
Transition she
Died

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We recognize a good
Life was lead a
Generous heart
Ceases to beat
A hearty laugh will
No longer be
Heard

We measure not
The depth
But the width
Of compassion
And passion
And dreams

We place our love
Gently
On the flowers
  That cover her
Under the clouds
  That embrace her
Into the Earth
   That owns her
And now
  Reclaims her

We will miss her
Spirit Her demands
Her hopes for us
And therefore Herself

At times like this
We are sad
We gather
We comfort
Each other
Yet still
At times like this
We
Properly
Cry

Nikki Giovannia poet, writer, commentator, activist, and educator—is a university distinguished professor at Virginia Tech.

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