Sunday, March 1, 2009

Maya Angelou, I'm following YOU!


Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told, 'I'm with you kid. Let's go.'
-- Maya Angelou

For those of you who aren't on Twitter... and that can't be many of you, right?... when someone new follows you on Twitter, you get an e-mail announcing it. Like this:
"L84lunch is following you on Twitter."

Usually, they don't mean much. You don't know others on Twitter until you start following them and see what they are up to ... in installments of 140 characters.
But I got an email last week that tickled me. On Monday, I received:
"Maya Angelou is following you on Twitter."

Cool. These thoughts quickly went through my head: I love Maya Angelou and how cool she wants to follow me .... well, she must follow everyone who follows her... and dang, I've gotta be kind of careful about what I say from now on. Whoa! Maya Angelou.

Well, I it took just a couple of days for someone to uncover that @mayaangelou was not the real deal. The tweeter quickly had 2,579 followers, but according to Angelou's agent, the account is bogus. As the L.A. Times said, the caged bird doesn't Twitter.

Oh well. I've seen the bogus celeb Twitterers before. It turns out this one is a 20-year-old male who does a pretty good impersonation.
But no matter. The very cool thing about being "followed" by Maya Angelou .. as fleeting and bogus as it was .. was that it led me to think about her this week. Her name surfacing on Twitter helped me remember reading her early books, lining them up on my shelf, the books in which she described being a cook, a streetcar conductor, a cocktail waitress, a dancer, a madam, an unwed mother, a singer.

Now there's a woman who won't let a little recession get her down. There's a survivor. An activist. A poet. I'm heading to that bookshelf to read some more. Maya Angelou, I'm following YOU.

Robin, Tempe



Caged Bird

A free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wing
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.


Maya Angelou

6 comments:

Lori said...

You've made me want to learn more about her.I didn't know all those things.

And, unbelievably, that's the first time I've read that poem. Knew the title, and now I know the rest of the story.

Kristin said...

What a neat thing to have happen...even if it was a fake celeb...because it brought her wonderful writing back into the forefront of your life.

Martha said...

Thank you for sharing a much loved poem. I'm teched out and twittering seems a little overwhelming.

Cassandra said...

If someone had told that little girl named Marguerite in the 1930s that thousands of people from every walk of life would sign up to read her every thought, she never would have believed them.

Goddess of Everything said...

Thanks for sharing your Miss Angelou story. The first time I heard of her was over 20 years ago when my little sister was taking a Women's Studies class at her college. She brought, "I Know Why The Caged Bird SIngs", home and the was the beginning of a whole new world for me.

Diana Black said...

I'm so glad to meet you and read this great post after your comment on my blog

http://womenswednesdayweblink.blogspot.com

I've "met" Ms Angelou three times, each one an experience in itself.

She has a spirit that speaks for so many of us!

Diana

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