Her words were timeless, and her lines never got old. I guess I thought she would last forever. But alas, Maya Angelou is gone now, and the world has a bit of a hole left no one else can quite fill.
I met Maya Angelou on the pages of her book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings when I was quite young. I was fascinated by her writing and became a fan. By the time I was teaching I had read everything she had written and continued to follow her. All of our literature textbooks had something by Miss Maya. I did not let my students read a poem and then move on. I made them not just meet but know this woman. In days when others were dropping spelling tests from lesson plans, I still pushed for spelling and vocabulary. When we read Maya Angelou I made her name a spelling word because I wanted them to pronounce the name correctly and to spell it right. They would never forget her.
Several years ago, I was in a silent auction where the only thing I wanted was a signed poem by this author. Another lady had WAY too much money as she drove the price completely beyond of my means! I was distraught for sure. So I set down and told Miss Angelou how sad I was to miss the opportunity to have her signed work and explained how she was studied not merely read in my classroom.
In only a matter of weeks I got a letter and a package in the mail. Inside were TWO signed poems. I nearly fainted. But how nice of her to give me enough that I could share, as I framed the extra for a close friend who loved Maya Angelou’s work too.
Tonight we feel sorrow for our loss, but soon we will realize the voice we loved will always sing to us in the words she left behind. We will feel her music and sway to her dance with each poem we read aloud. Heaven has a new poet, but she left behind many great words and works to keep us company while she is gone. Good bye, Miss Maya!