I just read my first of Maya Angelou:
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
Inspired, I wrote a poem about the ways I identify with her story, and the ways I’m inspired by her evolving character. The disclaimer would be that I don’t claim to have gone through anything even close to what she went through, and I understand that there are depths to African American suffering that I will never understand.
I raised myself too, in a way.
I identify with that strength.
With that understanding that you had a bad lot at times,
But you made something with it.
Learning to put your faith in your mind,
Which everyone seemed to always praise,
In lieu of affirmations of looks and charm.
The years it took to undo self-pity,
Followed by the fighter’s resolve to overcome,
And to become no longer fragile but unshakeable.
Realizing your supposed afflictions
Have granted you supreme advantage
Compared with those who have not yet tackled fear.
The courage it takes to be— adult is not it, for age has nothing to do with it—
But to be independent,
Having evaded all dependencies,
Not only familial caretakers and authorities,
But also the addictive dependencies that society tends to,
Locking themselves in prisons of security
Rather than risking the plight of self-will.
That courage, I identify with,
And I understand along with her how,
At a very young age,
One can feel eternally older than society,
And lonesome in that unshared age.