Poetry of Life, of Death

My father was taken by this particular poem from a collection of my favorites I read to him. Ironically, it’s a famous death poem with a theme of things left unsaid…so for your consideration… Dad’s heartfelt poem…

“When Great Trees Fall”  by Maya Angelou

When great trees fall, rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down in tall grasses,
and even elephants lumber after safety.
When great trees fall in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses eroded beyond fear.
When great souls die, the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile. We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly, see with a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened, examines,
gnaws on kind words unsaid, promised walks
never taken.
Great souls die and our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls, dependent upon their nurture,
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed and informed by their
radiance, fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold caves.
And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms, slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be better. For they existed.