‘merican Mystics: Maya Angelou (b. 1928)

[A simple definition of a mystic is one who seeks to experience God or the Transcendent.  Many of the greatest mystics have shared some of those experiences through poetry.  This is one a series of posts to share a spiritual poem and several quotations that have to do with some of the great themes of mystical writers and saints.  Maya Angelou and Robert Frost are just two of what I call ‘merican Mystics.  Here the poet writes of the need to be connected.  Where possible, i have embedded a video rendition of the featured poem.  Your suggestions about other ‘merican Mystics are most welcome.]

Alone

Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don’t believe I’m wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires
With money they can’t use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They’ve got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely
I’ll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
‘Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

[Link]

I’ve learned that
people will forget what you said,
people will forget what you did, but
people will never forget how you made them feel.

A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.

I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.

If you don’t like something, change it.
If you can’t change it, change your attitude.

It is this belief in a power larger than myself and other than myself
which allows me to venture into the unknown and even the unknowable.

I’ve learned that whenever
I decide something with an open heart,
I usually make the right decision.

[This photo by Adria Richards is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.  Thanks to Wikkimedia Commons]

[BOOKS]

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About Paul Wharton

I am a cradle Catholic, a native West Virginian, and a priest since April 24, 1982. Spiritual Direction has made a tremendous difference in my life and I encourage people to try it out. My motto is "Progress not perfection." I am grateful that God has done for me what I could not do for myself.
This entry was posted in Quotations, Songs and Poetry. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to ‘merican Mystics: Maya Angelou (b. 1928)

  1. Sandra Gail Bays says:

    I love this woman!

  2. Anne Comeaux says:

    I LOVE Maya Angelou! Thanks for this.

  3. Donna Musgrave says:

    Maya Angelou is one of those “elders” in our society with such a wealth of wisdom to share! One of my favorites of her insightful quotes is, “There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth.”

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