Maya Angelou

(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)

Song for the Old Ones - Poem by Maya Angelou

My Fathers sit on benches
their flesh counts every plank
the slats leave dents of darkness
deep in their withered flanks.

They nod like broken candles
all waxed and burnt profound
they say 'It's understanding
that makes the world go round.'

There in those pleated faces
I see the auction block
the chains and slavery's coffles
the whip and lash and stock.

My Fathers speak in voices
that shred my fact and sound
they say 'It's our submission
that makes the world go round.'

They used the finest cunning
their naked wits and wiles
the lowly Uncle Tomming
and Aunt Jemima's smiles.

They've laughed to shield their crying
then shuffled through their dreams
and stepped 'n' fetched a country
to write the blues with screams.

I understand their meaning
it could and did derive
from living on the edge of death
They kept my race alive.


Comments about Song for the Old Ones by Maya Angelou

  • Drtony Brahmin (5/12/2019 1:26:00 AM)

    There in those pleated faces
    I see the auction block
    the chains and slavery's coffles
    the whip and lash and stock. the whip and lash........ full of feelings. tony
    (Report)Reply

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  • (1/30/2019 11:52:00 AM)

    This is only part of the poem, and also is incorrect with verses added in some spots. Here is Angelou doing the whole poem: https: //www.youtube.com/watch? v=_HLol9InMlc (Report)Reply

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  • (1/10/2019 4:51:00 PM)

    This is a beautiful poem the way she incorporates fear, sadness, anguish, hope and optimism all in one poem is just brilliant. (Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (3/13/2018 1:41:00 PM)

    So sad she hit her due date; ( (Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    5 person did not like.
  • Subhas Chandra Chakra (12/9/2017 11:52:00 PM)

    I understand their meaning
    it could and did derive
    from living on the edge of death
    They kept my race alive.

    Great work dear poet.
    (Report)Reply

    5 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Rogelio Guillermo (10/11/2017 9:17:00 AM)

    Slavery has, indeed, left a grim mark on history and this poem's graphical portrayal of it is very real. (Report)Reply

    5 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Prabhata Kumar Sahoo (4/3/2017 10:55:00 AM)

    It is strong representation of a class.Good. (Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
Read all 7 comments »



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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, March 9, 2016



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