Heritage, Countee Cullen

Found many poems, scribbled on scraps of yellowing paper, squirreled away in drawers. Saving it here before Meera rips it to shreds.


What is Africa to me:
Copper sun or scarlet sea,
Jungle star or jungle track,
Strong bronzed men, or regal black
Women from whose loins I sprang
When the birds of Eden sang?
One three centuries removed
From the scenes his fathers loved,
Spicy grove, cinnamon tree,
What is Africa to me?

The power of words!
First verse of a longer poem by the same name. Heard this poem first recited by Maya Angelou.

Listening to Maya Angelou’s A Song Flung Up To Heaven

Listening: What it means to me
If a case has to be made for audiobooks, it is definitely when authors narrate their own works. Authors ensure tonal changes are exactly as they intend, and the listener need not rely on interpretations of a narrator. And Maya Angelou makes a superb case for audiobooks.

Maya Angelou
I just finished listening to Maya Angelou’s “ A Song Flung Up To Heaven.” Listening to Maya narrate her autobiographical work, will convert even the diehard opponent of audiobooks.

I am not reviewing the book here, but stating why listening to Maya was for me an exquisitely memorable experience. Not only is she a talented writer, but also a world class orator. She has a beautifully rich voice, and can control it as nimbly as classical dancers their muscle twitches. Her language and accent are moulded by experiences, in rural Arkansas, San Francisco, numerous US cities and four years in Ghana. Being a renowned poet, her voice has a lyrical ring to it. Continue reading “Listening to Maya Angelou’s A Song Flung Up To Heaven”

Maya Angelou

If you ever get an opportunity to hear Maya Angelou speak, jump to it! You will remember it for the rest of your life. I heard her speak about 5 years ago, and by the end of her lecture I was reduced to tears. She is the best. Or read her books. You will feel like someone lit a fire in your heart. I had read Maya's “Even the stars look lonesome” before. This evening as I was icing my ankle after a long run (yes the sun was out and I went for a run) I picked up this book and started skimming. Here Maya is talking about how the African-Americans have concealed themselves and their pain in their art. I don't think its exclusive to Africans. All people do it.

Here Maya quotes Langston Hughes:

Because my mouth
Is wide with laughter
And my throat
Is deep with song,
You do not think
I suffer after
I have held my pain
So long.

Because my mouth
Is wide with laughter
You do not hear
My inner cry
Because my feet
Are gay with dancing
You do not know
I die.


Read also my post: Maya Angelou: A Song Flung Up To Heaven

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