About‎ > ‎Rector's Reflections‎ > ‎

Rector's Reflection for May 29, 2014

posted May 29, 2014, 1:09 PM by Parish Administrator

"You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise."
                                                                        from On the Pulse of Morning
                                                                      Maya Angelou (1928-2014)



My heart was heavy yesterday morning when I heard that Maya Angelou had died.  She was an activist and an artist and a survivor.  She influenced people and movements and a mixed race kid like me, trying to figure out my life. To me Maya Angelou was a poet, because hers was the first poetry I read on my own.  I first encountered her poetry in my junior high school library.  When I joined the Forensics (public speaking) Team, I began doing oral interpretations of her poetry.  I am convinced her words got me to place during high school in the state competition.

My thrill at learning that she was a university professor at Wake Forest was scuttled by my inability to find time to take her classes (the load of a Biology/Religion double major was a little heavy).  One semester, I worked up my courage to approach her and plead my case for being allowed to audit her class on poetry reading.  I remember her looking at me over her glasses and saying, “Biology and religion, now poetry.  Are you trying to change the world?”

I don’t remember what answer I gave; I’m not even sure that I had an answer.  But she let me audit her class and it was one of the best classes I’ve ever taken.