Maya Angelou, April 4, 1928 — May 28, 2014

The rainbow refracts
A new span of funky hue
Maya Angelou

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Nov. 7: Two women with great chemistry

Marie Curie born,
Joni Mitchell, too: This day’s
Radio active

Brilliant but modest
Madame Curie coined the term
Radioactive

Won Nobel prizes
Both physics and chemistry
Nobody else has

There was nothing half
About her life, discovered,
Named two elements

Radium research,
Isolating isotopes
Saved lives, cut hers short

Her legacy lives
Her dedication inspires
Google her — you’ll see

Joni Mitchell turns
68 today, complete
Artistic package

Songwriter deluxe
“Both Sides Now,” “Woodstock”
Were hits for others

Her albums scored, too
Overflowing with romance,
Poetry, protest

Lilting melodies
Lyrics playful and painful
Confide and confess

You could do much worse
Than “Blue,” but it’s really hard
To do much better

Joni pushed the sound
Branched into jazz though some folks
Hissed her “Summer Lawns”

Distinct guitar sound
Forged when polio forced her
To chord differently

A fine painter, too
As her album covers show
Yeah, the whole package

Joni says she’s through
Except for painting a bit
Sure, we all decay

Like those isotopes,
Though, her music, influence
Will glow on and on

Raging haiku

I wish I could write
Like Dylan Thomas, verses
Intoxicating

And not just verses
Scripts and short stories, an ear
That never failed him

Though how could he fail
With Welsh place names like “Mumbles”
For inspiration?

But however strong
His work, his body was frail
Whisky his death knell

Rage for him we must
Drink deeply this life, and his
“Griefs of the ages”