Maya Angelou

(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)

Momma Welfare Roll - Poem by Maya Angelou

Her arms semaphore fat triangles,
Pudgy hands bunched on layered hips
Where bones idle under years of fatback
And lima beans.
Her jowls shiver in accusation
Of crimes clichéd by
Repetition. Her children, strangers
To childhood's toys, play
Best the games of darkened doorways,
Rooftop tag, and know the slick feel of
Other people's property.

Too fat to whore,
Too mad to work,
Searches her dreams for the
Lucky sign and walks bare-handed
Into a den of bureaucrats for
Her portion.
'They don't give me welfare.
I take it.'


Comments about Momma Welfare Roll by Maya Angelou

  • Susan Williams (8/26/2018 6:26:00 PM)


    me and amuses me. She doesn't sound like she takes life's difficulties lying down and not fighting back with (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Susan Williams (8/26/2018 6:24:00 PM)


    Now what was I going to say- -oh yeah this woman's sassy remark both tickles me and concerns (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (8/26/2018 6:23:00 PM)


    This is third comment I have written on this poem. PH knocked it off twice and then my computer froze up.Now PH is playing flip to the next poem. I would like to comment on the roll of welfare and this woman's (Report) Reply

  • Rose Marie Juan-austin (8/26/2018 9:47:00 AM)


    A wonderful poem on life with a great theme.
    Superb imagery.
    (Report) Reply

  • Savita Tyagi (8/26/2018 8:33:00 AM)


    A poem that speaks volume in its sketch of life of a black woman. Beaten by fate but always dreaming to be victorious. (Report) Reply

  • Glen Kappy (8/26/2018 7:16:00 AM)


    I can’t recall reading anything like this before by Maya Angelou. She summons well this woman with a few descriptive strokes. And my main thought after reading this is that it speaks clearly against those who want to group a people into all one type. -GK (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (8/26/2018 5:46:00 AM)


    Too mad to work! !

    Thanks for sharing.
    (Report) Reply

  • Paul Brookes (8/26/2018 4:27:00 AM)


    Maybe we don't like the person portryedbut we realise that just maybe its not her fault bu that of a society that keeps her down trodden because she is black and poor and mad Society often makes judgements but not always the right ones. When you have a job food in your belly and live in a white middle class neighbourhood it is so easy Remember most people are just one pay cheque away from the street. A great piece in my opinion 10/10 (Report) Reply

  • Kumarmani Mahakul (8/26/2018 4:16:00 AM)


    Beautiful poem with nice theme. (Report) Reply

  • Mahtab Bangalee (8/26/2018 4:04:00 AM)


    wonderful life like writings-

    Searches her dreams for the
    Lucky sign and walks bare-handed
    Into a den of bureaucrats for
    Her portion.
    (Report) Reply

  • Adrian Flett (8/26/2018 4:03:00 AM)


    'Too mad to work' A poem filled with vivid images of Momma, a nightmare for the welfare state. (Report) Reply

  • Anil Kumar Panda (8/26/2018 1:31:00 AM)


    Beautiful poem. Enjoyed from first line to the end. (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (8/26/2018 1:07:00 AM)


    Such a great write by Maya Angelou👍👍👍 (Report) Reply

  • (8/26/2018 12:58:00 AM)


    From a poetess of renown. Some memorable stanzas. Good example for aspiring poets. (Report) Reply

  • (6/24/2017 7:57:00 PM)


    Very nice poem. love to read this. (Report) Reply

  • (2/13/2017 12:12:00 PM)

    tom allport
    a sad reality poem about a real person? (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (12/30/2015 1:27:00 PM)


    Maya knows how to describe the landscape of the heart- - Her children, strangers
    To childhood's toys, play
    Best the games of darkened doorways,
    Rooftop tag, and know the slick feel of
    Other people's property.
    (Report) Reply

  • Brian Jani (4/26/2014 5:10:00 PM)


    Awesome I like this poem, check mine out  (Report) Reply

  • Patricia Grantham (6/17/2013 8:53:00 PM)


    Maya you really hit the target with this poem. As they say
    in the old school You really took the rag off the bush! .
    A straight and to the nitty gritty write. An eye opener.
    (Report) Reply

  • (3/5/2013 12:30:00 PM)


    This poem pleases Jeannette Chung very much. (Report) Reply

Read all 27 comments »

User Rating:
3,7 / 5 ( 179 votes ) 27



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Read poems about / on: childhood, work, children, people, child, dream



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

Poem Edited: Friday, July 27, 2012


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