Famous American poet and civil rights campaigner Maya Angelou was born in America in 1928, and passed away in 2014. She wrote the poem “When Great Trees Fall” in 1987. She composed the poem after her friend, writer and civil rights campaigner James Baldwin died (an incident that affected Maya). The poem discusses how upsetting it may be to experience the loss of a great person’s death, even if one believes that life ultimately triumphs.
This moving poem has since become a favourite work of literature for funerals, memorial events, and other similar occasions. The poem’s four stanzas express that passing away is more of a journey than a conclusion since the deceased are freed from life’s responsibilities and challenges and can enter a new, more peaceful existence.
When Great Trees Fall
The poem discusses how the end of one’s earthly existence is the beginning of another in paradise in simple yet beautiful terms. The picture of the deceased quietly ascending into the next dimension is celebrated, the same with their release from pain. Because funeral poems serve as a reminder that, despite death, life is about development and evolution, they provide solace to those left behind and inspire them to look for hope in their future.
When Great Trees Fall by Maya Angelou please click to view poem
For more poem inspiration visit the Save Funeral Costs blog of funeral poems.