Countdown + 29 Days "Letter to My Daughter" Maya Angelou

Those of you who have been following me know that I have been traveling with my 10-year old daughter, almost 2 years home from Africa, on this book tour for "The Language of Trees." I came across this reading from Maya Angelou tonight and my daughter and I sat together and listened to this great poet read her piece titled "Letter to My Daughter". Maya Angelou had only a son, but what touched me is that all women were her daughters: "Black and white, Jewish and Muslim...fat and thin, pretty, and plain..." My daughter and I talked about what this means, what makes a daughter, and how reading poetry is unlike anything else in the world because you have to read the empty spaces, the same way you need to acknowledge people you once held dear but are no longer in your life. We talked about how poetry speaks that which cannot be spoken. Mostly, we talked about how it is in all of us, from the mother in Concord, MA, who insists on smoothing the unwrinkled sheets in her new daughter's bed, to the father who walks miles across Kamashi, Ethiopia to siphon drinking water from the muddy river for his children. How poetry is the bones of the thing and writing is the shroud, the sheet, over the bones. And after she went to bed I listened to this again and it meant as much to me alone, for it was as though she was here, my daughter, embedded in this poem, inside me. This much I know: After you have listened, really listened to a person read, they are forever in your bones.

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Comment by MK Meredith on September 4, 2010 at 8:02pm
Thank you for this. I really enjoyed her spirit, and her genuine love flowed straight to my heart. I have a 4 1/2 year old daugher, but lost my mom when I was 7. It's an odd place to be. I don't have anything to relate our relationship to, accept my hopes and dreams of what could have been, becoming reality.
Thank you for directing us to this book!
MK Meredith


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