Maya Angelou on Grandmothers


I shall not be moved...

I went to hear - though it became quickly evident it would be more about FEEL - Maya Angelou speak at a Unique Lives and Experiences Event in Vancouver, many years ago now. She read the following poem. It has haunted me ever since.

There is something in the chorus, I SHALL NOT BE MOVED, that I stand along side of. I have not run ahead of hounds nor been hunted because of my skin but in this piece, I do find myself over and again. Maybe it's because as a mother, daughter, sister and friend, I am enveloped in the collective consciousness of women who have cried against calamity, pulled on the latch of freedom's gate while holding God in their throat, knowing that amidst the joys and the sorrows - THEY/WE/I SHALL NOT BE MOVED.

*****

Our Grandmothers

She lay, skin down on the moist dirt,

the canebrake rustling

with the whispers of leaves, and

loud longing of hounds and

the ransack of hunters crackling the near branches.

She muttered, lifting her head a nod toward freedom,