Sing On

joyful Maya AngelouI first heard this song from 1994 around that time on a Public Broadcasting Station (commercial-free radio!), allowing for this long song. Eight enjoyable minutes of movement-motivating music! This fantastic compilation by the talented Branford Marsalis and friends, which includes Maya Angelou reading some of her incredible poem, is delightful and makes me dance.

I hope this song brightens your heart and your day as it always does for me. May we remember our love for Maya with gratitude for her magnificent example, and how she blessed us with her years here. She will live on, forever in our hearts, and we are so thankful for all she shared. Namaste. Gina

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou

(This is her complete poem; certain excerpts are in the song)

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

I Have To Live With Myself

Today I am sharing an old poem by the ‘People’s Poet’ and it describes the importance of liking ourselves. This is an essential component of raising our self-worth, and strengthening our self-love.

From this foundation we all can see that challenges make life interesting, and the overcoming of them is what makes life worthwhile. We are strong enough for everything we find in our path.

friends with yourselfRemember Victor Hugo’s wisdom: “God doesn’t make fruit grow on branches too weak to bear its weight.” This old adage reminds us that if we are given a challenge it means we are up to it, and the stronger we are sometimes the tougher the obstacle. If we find our self in a rough patch, let’s hold our head high and know that we must be up to the challenge or it wouldn’t have landed in our lap.

Having faith in ourselves and our abilities is sometimes as simple as the ability to lift our heads up off the pillow. It is another day. A new day. And we are here, with our self. We must like ourselves. After all, we know ourselves the best, and we know how much we have been through. Sometimes when I take a moment to remember where I came from and all that I have been through, I cannot help but want to pat myself on the back. ‘Way to Go’, I cheer to myself. ‘I’m so glad you’re still here’. Try saying that to yourself and see how much better it makes you feel.


Written by Edgar A. Guest

I have to live with myself and so

I want to be fit for myself to know.

I want to be able as days go by,

Always to look myself straight in the eye;

I don’t want to stand with the setting sun

And hate myself for the things I have done.

I don’t want to keep on a closet shelf

A lot of secrets about myself

And fool myself as I come and go

Into thinking no one else will ever know

The kind of person I really am,

I don’t want to dress up myself in sham.

I want to go out with my head erect

I want to deserve men’s respect;

But here in the struggle for fame and pelf

I want to be able to like myself.

I don’t want to look at myself and know

I am bluster and bluff and empty show.

I never can hide myself from me;

I see what others may never see;

I know what others may never know,

I never can fool myself and so,

Whatever happens I want to be

Self-respecting and conscience free.

Edgar Guest (1881-1959) worked for more than sixty years at the Detroit Free Press, publishing his first poem at seventeen, then going on to become a reporter and columnist whose work was featured in hundreds of newspapers around the country. Guest is said to have written some 11,000 poems during his lifetime, most of it sentimental, upbeat verse. Critics may have occasionally derided his work, but America adored him. He was known as the “People’s Poet,” served as Michigan’s poet laureate, hosted a long-running radio show and TV show, and published more than twenty books.

Related Reading:
Paul Mark Sutherland found a wonderful verse from Edgar A. Guest.

Here’s a couple of my earlier posts with poems from Edgar A. Guest:

Post updated April 14, 2016: Corrected the word wealth from ‘But here in the struggle for fame and wealth’ to pelf, an old-fashioned word meaning “money, especially when gained in a dishonest or dishonorable way.” A helpful person pointed it out to me. I welcome source information and corrections. Please contact me through the sidebar link.

March Forward and Release Grief

springtime crocusIt is the first day of March.

Each minute sweeter than before…

There is a blessing in the air…

~William Wordsworth

The theme of March is the uncovering of faith and courage through the letting go of fear. We have a choice in how we react to the images in our minds. Patience, surrender and the faith that all things work for the best help form the foundation for deep peace of mind. ~Joan Borysenko

rainbow cloudsFour years ago today my mother passed away and left this physical experience. While my heart has felt leaden and heavy about losing her, this year I feel different. I feel a deep peace, even a flutter of joy for my mother and where she is now. I do not experience the same sadness I used to. While I don’t know what happens after we die, I do have a sense of intuition and belief in an afterlife. As a Native American funeral blessing shares, we were never born and we will never die. That part of us which is pure spirit is here always, and I seem to be feeling my mother’s joy.

springtimeThe first of March is a beautiful day, and here in my part of the world the sky is bright blue and the birds are singing. The daylight hours are lengthening and the temperatures are warming. Having crossed the calendar from February to March, even the word itself sounds brighter… one crisp, joyful syllable to describe this bright and early month of the year, as well as the verb form of the word that describes moving forward with confidence and determination.

cosmic sky rainbow colours 400That’s how I see my Mom now. I  see her as a determined soul who chose to march forward in her own destiny and into the unknown of the next level. I see her in a place free from pain and judgment, and surrounded by blissful peace and profoundly unconditional love. I believe she is with me and cheers on everything that brings me closer to the light and loving truth of my being.

cribbage 29 smNow I feel like celebrating this day. I feel like not only is a day of one’s birth to be joyfully acknowledged, but also their death as a transition through a new doorway. I celebrate that my mother is cradled in the embrace of God and as such is immersed in love. I symbolically release brightly coloured balloons for her, and play the upbeat music she loved. Today I will prepare some of the delicious food she taught me to make (like Corn Chowder and tender Pot Roast). And tonight in her honour I’ll enjoy a few games of crib with my husband.

Let’s remember that there’s no need to collapse into deep sadness when we lose a loved one, except of course for the fact that we miss them, but that’s about ourselves. As far as how they are doing… they are pain-free and at peace. And that is most definitely worth celebrating with love!

do-not-stand-grave-Mary Frye[Randomly sourced images]

I Dreamt About Doves

I dreamt about doves today

Swirling, nearly blown away

By winds that threaten peaceful ways

doveWinds that blow, but not always


In my dream I saw them strive

To dip, and swoop, and stay alive

I saw that though they might look frail

These small white birds could stand the gale


With strong hearts they rode the storm

They used the air to transform

This ever rising threat to peace

To help us humans to release


doveIn my dream I saw them land

At last they settled on the sand

With boughs of olive in their beaks

They sought out humans whom peace seeks


These beacons had ridden out the gales

Made it through for hope prevails

Brought to us the proof of peace

That warring factions may release

Their hold on hatred, false beliefs

doveAnd gazed at me, a snow-white dove

A beacon, messenger, bringing love

I woke amidst a fluttered sound

I felt I floated off the ground

I pondered how peace does exist

I knew it wasn’t just a wish

I felt deep love for humankind

I know peace now is rightly timed.


Copyright © 2012 Professions For PEACE 

Flying Crooked, by Robert Graves

I enjoyed spending time in the gardens today, and I had the opportunity to witness the wonder and curiously chaotic flight of several butterflies. Whenever I see one this poem, that I memorized nearly twenty years ago, runs through my mind. Often I will recite it aloud, and its playful rhythm makes me happy. Of all my memorized poetry, I love this one for its incredibly descriptive cadence, somehow even sounding like a butterfly’s flight. I hope you enjoy!
.white butterfly

Flying Crooked, by Robert Graves

The butterfly, a cabbage-white, 

(His honest idiocy of flight) 

Will never now, it is too late, 

Master the art of flying straight, 

Yet has – who knows so well as I? –

A just sense of how not to fly: 

He lurches here and here by guess 

And God and hope and hopelessness. 

Even the acrobatic swift 

Has not his flying-crooked gift.



young poet Robert GravesRobert von Ranke Graves, “Robert Graves” (July 1895 – December 1985) was an English poet, novelist, and scholar/translator/writer of antiquity specializing in Classical Greece and Rome. During his long life he produced more than 140 works, and earned his living from writing. Graves’s poems — together with his translations and innovative analysis and interpretations of the Greek myths, his memoir of his early life including his role in the First World War, Goodbye to All That, and his pseudo-historical study of poetic inspiration, The White Goddess — have never been out of print. (source Wikipedia)

Just Before


I just love summer ~ the sound of the mowers,

The scent of bug-spray on my skin;

The late twilight calling me away from my bed

Where winter would’ve seen me, hiding within.


I can hear the plants, when I slow down at last

And just pull and prune and trim,

And they let me know what it is they prefer

And where they want to live.


The sudden sight of a flower, that wasn’t there just before

Fills my heart with a sudden joy,

And I soak in that beauty and return with a smile

To the path I was on just before.


I am reminded ongoing of the peace that will find me,

Even when I resist those same tasks;

Those ones that will teach me: the lessons my garden

Will give me if I only ask.


Copyright © 2008 Professions for PEACE