Category Archives: Tribute to Maya Angelou

I KNOW WHO FREED THE CAGED BIRD
– ( FOR MARGUERITE [MAYA] ANGELOU)
I did not see Moses strike the Red Sea
I did not see the wand that ushered in the east wind
But should I feign ignorance of the guard of honour mounted by seawalls
for the newly freed?

When the scabbard winces at the scrape of the machete
Bearing the brunt of its two-edged fanaticism,
I would rather not trade places with the tethered ram!
I do not know if it was the cockerel that crowed up the dawn
Or the dawn that gave voice to the cockerel
But I know the source rock of celebrant springs
I know who untethered that bleating ram….

I did not feel the hands that undid the shackle
I did not see the manacler flee at the inscrutable smile of the manacled
But I know the wielder of the pen that refused to yield to pain
I know the one who waxes melodious even when chronicling grief.

I felt the scented newness of an unfolding petal
a Mandela-size spirit spreading like ripples across vast tides
I saw no blood, save that on your lintel
I heard no sound, save the flutter of escaping birds
But I knew whom the pantheon were welcoming with a toast of eagle feathers.

You always knew that All God’s Children Need Travelling Shoes
I don’t know how long you’ve had yours on.
I do not know if it was the cockerel that crowed up the dawn
Or the dawn that gave voice to the cockerel
But I know who untethered that bleating ram….
I know who freed the caged bird……

– Anaele Ihuoma