Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Slow Irregular Blooming of Peace



"When Great Trees Fall"

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.
When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
examines,
gnaws on kind words
unsaid,
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
nurture,
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
radiance,
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold
caves.

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly.  Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed.  They existed.
We can be.  Be and be
better.  For they existed.

~ Maya Angelou







Image of a forest in Arizona courtesy of Google wallpaper.

36 comments:

  1. 'Didn't Know This Poem Before. I Was Going To Disagree Until I Read The Final Paragraph....But Now I Agree! Hurray!

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    1. Yes, it is the final paragraph that allows for its utter acceptance. Hurray! Always good to hear from you, Tony.

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  2. I really love your readings. Poetry is usually not my thing but you make it come alive when you read. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you, Manzi. I hope you're having a peaceful Sunday in Montana.:)

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  3. This is a beautiful reminder to live each day fully and realize that there are those among us who lift us on their spiritual shoulders and show us the beauty of the world. Your voice is just amazing ...

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    1. Good Morning, Cletis, Isn't it a wonderful poem? Thank you so much for listening and commenting, and for the sweet compliment.

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  4. That poem was new to me. It is an amazing piece of art, and very true. I see the world differently after I read that poem. Isn't that what art does? Thank you, Teresa. You are a treasure.

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    1. Yes, I think it's what it should do, help us see the world differently. Nice thought. Thank you, DJan. :)

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  5. Lovely! What a beautiful, positive, hopeful piece of poetry. Thanks to Maya Angelou and thanks to you, Teresa, for bringing it to us.

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    1. She has such a marvelous outlook on life, what an amazing person she is. You're most welcome. I'm so glad you liked it.

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  6. Enjoyed your reading of Maya Angelou's poem. You have a very warm tone that expressed the poem's feelings very well. -- barbara

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  7. Truly, unbelievably beautiful, Teresa. I forget to turn to Maya Angelou - need to remember her more. I got caught up in the first verse, needing to push on to the poem's end. A house is about to be built next door. A sycamore, which straddles both lots, is already marked in orange. I can't think about losing it, my own senses "eroded by fear".

    My server would not connect to what, from the comments, I assume to be your reading of "When Great Trees Fall". I will come back again in hopes of hearing it. In the meantime, I will read this again, out loud, imagining.

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    1. I grieve for trees lost and was just today thinking about the beautiful word 'sycamore.' Interesting... I'm afraid that would be a hard loss to take... I understand your fear... It's on soundcloud. If you click on it, perhaps going directly there will help... Poetry read aloud makes a lovely difference, doesn't it? :)

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  8. Lovely poem. Really good poetry can be so hard to find in this age when anything can be published anywhere. But when it works, it works well.

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    1. I agree. There is a lot out there for that very reason, so we have to do more winnowing... Maya is so good....

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  9. Hello Teresa:
    We love this poem of Maya Angelou and the way in which she draws so beautifully the analogy between trees and people.It is always sad when those we love die and the felling of trees is also a terribly sad event.

    We were much touched by a recent exhibition in Budapest of the work of Imre Bukta. He is a contemporary Hungarian artist and his work often comes from his reflections on the destruction of the Hungarian countryside and the general decline in moral values. This poem resonates with his work very powerfully for us.

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    1. I will look into his work. I love being introduced to new (to me) artists. Thank you for telling me about him.

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  10. Teresa, is that you reading that strong poem? You've got a fantastic good voice.

    I love the poem. I think it is a special moment when a great tree dies. There is like the sound of a sigh. The poem touches my soul.


    Grethe ´)

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    1. Yes, it is I, Grethe! Thank you so much! I'm glad the poem touched you....

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  11. Lovely rendition. At first I thought it was Maya Angelou herself. I've followed your example and joined Soundcloud. Isn't it great.

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    1. Oh, my, thank you.... I'm glad you joined. I'll be over to check it out...

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  12. I love the image of elephants lumbering after safety! If I think of my father and father-in-law's absence in the world, it is as if great trees have fallen. One minute so hefty a presence and then felled. It is hard to believe it's really happened sometimes.
    Anyway, a timely word to me, this poem, as I was reluctant to go for a walk with David today, it's so cold. Now I think I will make the effort.

    Lovely to hear you read it. My silent reading first is faster and in my own English accent so it's interesting to hear yours straight afterwards.

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    1. I also loved that image. What remarkable mammals they are. Yes, great trees fall and their absence is felt...

      I would love to hear your voice reading!

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    2. No, trust me....... yours is the correct interpretation. I sense the potential for Maya Angelou to wince as I read it, but it's the voice I will always have in my head!

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  13. So much better when I hear you read this rather than read it to myself. So nice to hear your voice again. A wonderful poem, speaks so easily to the listener or reader. My kind of thinking, no doubt!

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    1. Why, thank you, Bill. That's so nice of you to say so... Yes, I certainly can see why this would speak to you. :)

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  14. ps. You should 'broadcast' more.

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    1. Thank you.... I will give it full consideration... :)

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  15. I like the poem and love hearing it come to life as you read!

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  16. Dear Teresa, a dear, dear friend of mine in Richfield is getting closer and closer to "falling" because of cancer. So this poem spoke to me in a special way because he is truly a great soul. He has touched my life with nothing but gentleness. I'm going to send him this poem so he will know what he means to all of us to whom he's given his friendship. Peace.

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    1. I'm so sorry, Dee. I'm glad this poem came around for you now. I hope it brings both of you great peace and understanding.

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