Poem – Old Folks Laugh

They have spent their
content of simpering,

holding their lips this

and that way, winding

the lines between

their brows. Old folks

allow their bellies to jiggle like slow

tambourines.

The hollers

rise up and spill

over any way they want.

When old folks laugh, they free the world.

They turn slowly, slyly knowing

the best and the worst

of remembering.

Saliva glistens in

the corners of their mouths,

their heads wobble

on brittle necks, but

their laps

are filled with memories.

When old folks laugh, they consider the promise

of dear painless death, and generously

forgive life for happening

to them. 

Old Folks Laugh – Maya Angelou 

They have spent their 

content of simpering, 

holding their lips this 

and that way, winding 

the lines between 

their brows. Old folks 

allow their bellies to jiggle like slow 

tambourines. 

The hollers 

rise up and spill 

over any way they want. 

When old folks laugh, they free the world. 

They turn slowly, slyly knowing 

the best and the worst 

of remembering. 

Saliva glistens in 

the corners of their mouths, 

their heads wobble 

on brittle necks, but 

their laps 

are filled with memories. 

When old folks laugh, they consider the promise 

of dear painless death, and generously 

forgive life for happening 

to them.

Old Folks Laugh – Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou 4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014

Maya Angelou
4 April 1928 – 28 May 2014


They have spent their
content of simpering,
holding their lips this
and that way, winding
the lines between
their brows. Old folks
allow their bellies to jiggle like slow
tambourines.
The hollers
rise up and spill
over any way they want.
When old folks laugh, they free the world.
They turn slowly, slyly knowing
the best and the worst
of remembering.
Saliva glistens in
the corners of their mouths,
their heads wobble
on brittle necks, but
their laps
are filled with memories.
When old folks laugh, they consider the promise
of dear painless death, and generously
forgive life for happening
to them.