A poem by Maya Angelou
Saturday September 6, 1997
The dark lantern of world sadness has cast its shadow upon the land.
We stumble into our misery on leaden feet.
Our minds seek to comprehend the unknowable and our hearts seek to
Measure a tomorrow without the Sunshine Princess.
Her hands which had held bright tiaras and jewelled crowns,
Also stroked the faces of pain along
Angola’s dusty roads.
She was born to the privilege of plenty
Yet, she communed with the needy without a show of pompous piety.
Glowing in Bosnia, radiant at glittering balls,
We came to love her and claim her for her grace and accessibility.
We smiled to see her enter and grinned at her happiness.
Now the world we made is forever changed…
Made smaller, meaner, less colorful.
Yet, because she did live,
Because she ventured life and confronted change,
She has left us a legacy.
We also may dare…
To care for some other than ourselves and those who look like us.
And maybe we can take a lesson from her
And try to live our lives
With passion, compassion, humor and grace.
Goodbye Sunshine Princess.
Written specially for The Guardian, September 5, 1997