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Old Folks laugh -- Maya Angelou

Guest poem sent in by Ebor Mithwarg
(Poem #645) Old Folks laugh
 They have spent their
 content of simpering,
 holding their lips this
 and that way, winding
 the lines between
 their brows. Old folks
 allow their bellies to jiggle like slow
 The hollers
 rise up and spill
 over any way they want.
 When old folks laugh, they free the world.
 They turn slowly, slyly knowing
 the best and the worst
 of remembering.
 Saliva glistens in
 the corners of their mouths,
 their heads wobble
 on brittle necks, but
 their laps
 are filled with memories.
 When old folks laugh, they consider the promise
 of dear painless death, and generously
 forgive life for happening
 to them.
-- Maya Angelou
What I love about this poem is the way it conjures up the tired hilarity of
old people - a way of laughing that is equally a mode of surrender: and the
way the poem is like the laugh itself, blending an elusive sense of joy with
an ancient fatigue.



There's a biography of Angelou at poem #383

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Anonymous said...

Is there a deeper meaning to this poem? Most of her poems do, so I was wondering if this one does.

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