Fly Away Home (For Maya Angelou)

For now we see through a glass, darkly;
but then face to face: now I know in part;
but then shall I know even as also I am known.
–1 Corinthians 13:12 (King James Version)

The Queen has gone home.
Her day is done, is done.
There is an outline, an umbra
around the place where her light
passed through the veil.
Words spill out of pockets
dimpled in the lace;
We rush, candy-eyed children
at piñata treasures and find
that each of these words,
her words,
are a tiny prism through which
still more light passes.

This brilliant bird has now flown.
Her day is done, is done
and we marvel at how a name
can be a double-faced coin:
illusion to the Hindu,
but lucent to the hearer
with a tugged and tattered ear
upon which feathers hang
in hundred hues.
Feathers iron, drop into
a mighty wide river and
carry our flight-tired bird home,
cage-less and free.

Marguerite Johnson has gone home.
Her day is done, is done.
I peer through the veil dividing
blindness from sight,
world from world,
and hope to see Maya staring back.
Instead, I see my twelve year-old self
trying on her words like wings –
“and still I rise”.
I squint, change my vision’s lenses
just long enough to see gilded cage bars
vanish into nothing.

Written 5/28/14
© 2014 Nicole Nicholson. All rights reserved.


This came out of me. After I wrote the short blurb for Red Wolf Poems about Maya Angelou, I felt I wanted to say something, for Dr. Angelou. I was horribly and painfully mute when Nelson Mandela passed — the words just would not come. Praise God, not this time.

Maya is literally one of the first reasons I began writing poetry. I was twelve when I discovered her poems. She led me to Nikki Giovanni, Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Paul Laurence Dunbar…which led me to Galway Kinnell, Allen Ginsberg, Saul Williams, Patricia Smith, Barbara Fant, Lord Byron, and Jim Morrison, just to name a few. She set me on the path to words, and I am forever grateful for that.



About ravenswingpoetry

I am a 38 year old writer from Columbus, OH and the creator of Raven's Wing Poetry. I am a poet, seeker, fellow traveler, and autistic.
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2 Responses to Fly Away Home (For Maya Angelou)

  1. Beautiful tributes to an amazing & beautiful woman! Her voice may be silenced, but her words will echo on… ❤

  2. Touching tribute to such a wise woman. She would have been honored by this.

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