‘The Lie’ by Maya Angelou

The Lie’ is one of my favourite poems written by Maya Angelou. I read it for the first time in my literature class, thanks to Mrs Stevens, my amazing literature teacher in college. The poem captures a young woman’s emotions after a break-up and also the way she chooses to defend her ego and walk away rather than try to win back her lover/boyfriend and appear weak. I’m not too fond of poetry, however, reading this poem always makes me smile. 
                                                              The Lie
Today, you threaten to leave me.

I hold curses, in my mouth,

which could flood your path, sear

bottomless chasms in your road.

I keep, behind my lips,

invectives capable of tearing

the septum from your

nostrils and the skin from your back.

Tears, copious as a spring rain,

are checked in ducts

and screams are crowded in a corner

of my throat.

You are leaving?


Aloud, I say:

I’ll help you pack, but it’s getting late,

I have to hurry or miss my date.

When I return, I know you’ll be gone.

Do drop a line or telephone.


Maya Angelou


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