By Zakkiyyah

“And when great souls die,

after a period peace blooms,

slowly and always irregularly.

Spaces fill

with a kind of soothing electric vibration.

Our senses, restored, never

to be the same, whisper to us.

They existed. They existed. We can be. Be and be

better. For they existed...”

- Maya Angelou (Excerpt from When Great Trees Fall)

Coincidentally, I read this poem months ago when a friend of mine shared it with me after the passing of my Grandmother late last year. Given the theme of this month’s issue I thought I’d revisit these affirming and comforting words written by the late Maya Angelou and reconsider my thoughts on death and transition, while also re-visioning what death is and how we visualize the notion of passing.

The notions of transition and death for me imply that a metamorphosis has taken place by way of a series of experiences. Whether it be physical or spiritual death or the required transitions we experience throughout our lives that rebirth us into a transformation, I trust in the end conclusion providing an opening or beginning. As Maya Angelou so eloquently noted:

“When great souls die, after a period peace blooms.”

I thought about these words and meditated on death as the ultimate Eden, a state of paradise, vibrant life, and new inceptions. Our transition into death is not an ending, but rather a signifier of a kind of blooming. 

Read more about Zakkiyah here. View Zakkiyyah's photonarrative from our first issue here.