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Maya Angelou wrote this lovely poem. I think there are several ways to interpret the poem’s message. It could be a love poem, a poem written from the perspective of an oppressed people, or the way we see each other in daily life. I wonder, “What would it be like if we found ways to be equal, in our workplaces, families, communities, and the many other places humans gather? Could we each be free?”

I am reminded of Martin Luther King’s famous line: “Free at last, Free at last, Thank God Almighty we are free at last!” and Maria Montessori’s quote: Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future.”

Can I help lift the yoke that keeps others down in some small way each day, each moment? We each need moments of uplifting and the respect that flows from it.

You declare you see me dimly
through a glass which will not shine,
though I stand before you boldly,
trim in rank and making time.

You do own to hear me faintly
as a whisper out of range,
while my drums beat out the message
and the rhythms never change.

Equality, and I will be free.
Equality, and I will be free.

You announce my ways are wanton,
that I fly from man to man,
but if I’m just a shadow to you,
could you ever understand?

We have lived a painful history,
we know the shameful past,
but I keep on marching forward,
and you keep on coming last.

Equality, and I will be free.
Equality, and I will be free.

Take the blinders from your vision,
take the padding from your ears,
and confess you’ve heard me crying,
and admit you’ve seen my tears.

Hear the tempo so compelling,
hear the blood throb through my veins.
Yes, my drums are beating nightly,
and the rhythms never change.

Equality, and I will be free.
Equality, and I will be free.

About ivonprefontaine

In keeping with bell hooks and Noam Chomsky, I consider myself a public and dissident intellectual. Part of my work is to move beyond (transcend) institutional dogmas that bind me to defend freedom, raising my voice to be heard on behalf of those who seek equity and justice in all their forms. I completed my PhD in Philosophy of Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA. My dissertation and research was how teachers experience becoming teachers and their role as leaders. I focus on leading, communicating, and innovating in organizations. This includes mindfuful servant-leadership, World Cafe events, Appreciative Inquiry, and expressing one's self through creativity. I offer retreats, workshops, and presentations that can be tailored to your organzations specific needs. I published peer reviewed articles about schools as learning organizations, currere as an ethical pursuit, and hope as an essential element of adult eductaion. I published three poems and am currently preparing my poetry to publish as an anthology of poetry. I present on mindful leadership, servant leadership, schools as learning organizations, how teachers experience becoming teachers, assessement, and critical thinking. I facilitate mindfulness, hospitality retreats. and World Cafe Events using Appreciative Inquiry. I am writing and researching about various forms of leadership, how teachers inform and form their identity as a particular teacher, schools as learning organizations, hope and its anticipatory relationship with the future, and hope as an essential element in learning.

16 responses »

  1. dulzimordash

    Reblogged this on Spontaneous Creativity.

  2. I love this! I’m going to share your post on our Facebook fanpage. Thank you for sharing this!

  3. One of my favorite poems by her. It has such a strong punch and so many meanings.

  4. The thing I like about poems is that each individual finds their own meaning in them.

  5. A powerfully compelling poem that carries me a long with it’s power and it purpose.

  6. “..Take the blinders from your vision,
    take the padding from your ears,
    and confess you’ve heard me crying,
    and admit you’ve seen my tears…”
    these are powerful words about ignorance and hate…Something to think about

  7. WHAT A POEM!!!! yes! assuming you are speaking about equality of genders- I agree with her!

    • I think there are so many messages in this poem about equality and they all have merit. It could be about gender, ethnicity, the workplace, etc. It is a great poem from a great poet.

  8. What an amazing poem, thatnk you for sharing it. I also shared the lessons of music with little children in a Montessori School for years, and respect was such a huge element of our mutual understanding. I also thank you for liking and listening to Iridesense!

  9. Ivon, I have nominated you for The Sunshine Award. Please see the latest posting on my blog for the rules regarding this award. I love those poems you publish!


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