It was just a bit more than a month ago when I sat in the EGW centre in Newbold library and distracted B. from writing his big essay. As usual, he had a whole mountain of books there with him. And as I had all the free time in the world, I just browsed through some of his books. Then I came across a worn copy of the collection of Maya Angelou's poems, little pink slips of paper sticking out from its pages. And I sat there and read them, some which I had never read before, some which I knew well. That was the last time I read her poems, knowing that she was still with us. No more.
When people like M. A. leave us, I sometimes get this childish fear - who's going to take care of us now? Who's going to teach us? Who's going to show us the right way? How can we continue living and how can we figure this life thing out when such wise people leave us? I had the same feeling when Nelson Mandela passed, I felt it when my favourite Estonian writer Jaan Kross died. It happens every now and then. It's like we're so much poorer, so much more lost without these beautiful people who've laboured and fought and overcome and forgiven and loved and... won.
I think it's that bit from her poem which she read to president Clinton on his inauguration day in 1993 that I like the best.
But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.
I will give you no more hiding place down here.
You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.
Your mouths spilling words
Armed for slaughter.
The Rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.
Rest in peace, Lady.