Chris' Original Blogbeque

A fresh, vinegar-based examination of life

“Proud blooms above the weeds of death”

Posted by Chris on February 9, 2007

The phrase comes from a Maya Angelou poem entitled Elegy. I am not a literature snob nor very poetic; I have one book of poetry, a large anthology of Maya Angelou. I enjoy the poems, that is, the ones I’m able to understand, which is probably only half. I don’t think it’s a very famous poem which makes me feel kind of smart (I had to type it up, couldn’t find it on Google!) Here is the text of the poem:

Elegy
(For Harriet Tubman & Frederick Douglass)
I lie down in my grave
and watch my children
grow
Proud blooms
above the weeds of death.

Their petals wave
and still nobody
knows the soft black
dirt that is my winding
sheet. The worms, my friends,
yet tunnel holes in
bones and through those
apertures I see the rain.
The sunfelt warmth
now jabs
within my space and
brings me roots of my
children born.

Their seeds must fall
and press beneath
this earth,
and find me where I
wait. My only need to
fertilize their birth.

I lie down in my grave
and watch my children
grow.

In this poem, the subjects are proud blooms specifically in that they are african-americans living out the dream of ex-slaves, fighting for equality in the footsteps of Tubman and Douglass. I think the blooms symbology can also refer to any people, their attitudes, and/or thoughts. We are all rooted in the past; we make decisions based on worldviews, spirituality, experience- our “blooms” stretch forth above those “weeds.” Do I make the most of the past?

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