The following poem was written by Nikki Giovanni. It originally appeared on Slate, under the title “At Times Like This.” Nikki Giovanni is a world-renown poet, writer, commentator, educator and activist. She is a distinguished professor at Virginia Tech. 

By: Nikki Giovanni

(for Maya Angelou)

At times like this
We measure our words
Because we are
Measuring a life

A friend was not
Lost nor did she
Transition she
Died

We recognize a good
Life was lead a
Generous heart
Ceases to beat
A hearty laugh will
No longer be
Heard

We measure not
The depth
But the width
Of compassion
And passion
And dreams

We place our love
Gently
On the flowers
That cover her
Under the clouds
That embrace her
Into the Earth
That owns her
And now
Reclaims her

We will miss her
Spirit Her demands
Her hopes for us
And therefore Herself

At times like this
We are sad
We gather
We comfort
Each other
Yet still
At times like this
We
Properly
Cry

 

 

 

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