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A Cornucopia of Thanks for Bridgemakers

November 18, 2015


A Cornucopia of Thanks to Bridgemakers


As I continue with my “Cornucopia of Thanks” series during this month of November and this season of Thanksgiving, my third of four blog posts from this altitude of gratitude focuses on bridgemakers and blue ribbons. How fortunate we are to encounter bridgemakers in our lives! How lucky we are to win blue ribbons! Don’t we need more bridgemakers in our lives, in our country, in the world to bring together more people positively?


In June of 2006, my then Leader Dog Heather and I walked to the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. Part of a sellout audience, I thoroughly enjoyed and was moved by the magnificent performance by Maya Angelou–a bridgemaker. On May 29, 2014, I wrote the following poem to pay tribute to this bridgemaker. Thanks to the online literary publication Magnets and ladders, not only was this 48-line poem published in the 2015 fall/winter issue, but also my piece won a “blue ribbon”–that is, first prize in the poetry contest. To read the other prize winners–as well as other poems, short stories, essays, and memoirs–please visit:


The following poem is my only one to win first-place in a poetry contest. Thanks to Mary-Jo Lord, editor of Magnets and ladders, and her committees for giving my poem this distinction!



Bridgemaker: A Tribute to Maya Angelou


(April 4, 1928-May 28, 2014)



by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



Thank you for all the bridges you built

in your storied 86 years.

Oh, treasured Bridgemaker,

how you crafted

each bridge to which

not dust, but a dream adheres!


Renaissance woman of the real world:

bridges riveted with rainbows,

bridges made of mortar boards,

bridges designed with pages of poetry and pillars of prose

were all your forte.


Memoirist extraordinaire:

with high honors,

you danced and sang your way

across all the bridges

whose lands, hands, minds, and memoirs

you judiciously joined together

in one magnificent, glowing,

phenomenal life.


Statuesque Queen of Poetry:

one of the highlights of my little life

was watching you, hearing you

on the stage of Milwaukee’s

Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.

How you womanufactured

so creatively, gently, and expertly

a bridge between that strong stage

and the sellout audience!

The atmosphere was on the pulse of a Milwaukee morning

and swelled with your grace and grandeur.

Surely, you realized how awestruck we were

as you held us in the palm of your poetic hand.

Certainly, you sensed how we bowed to your majesty

and applauded your panoramic brilliance.

Your wondrous way

of reciting your poems with the poems of others,

your melodious manner of telling stories,

your combining your memorable and superb

speaking voice with your singing voice

are recorded on my creative soul forever.

Being in the audience of one of your phenomenal performances

was one of the greatest privileges of my life.


Thank you

for being the Bridgemaker

who brought together

and embraced with gallant words

so many people

in this poetic world.



Hoping you have met and will continue to meet bridgemakers in your life,

Alice and Zoe


Be a bridgemaker!


(This poem was first posted on Wordwalk on June 4, 2014.)

November 18, 2015, Wednesday



From → Uncategorized

  1. I love this poem. Thanks also for the mention of Magnets and Ladders.

  2. Congratulations, Alice, on receiving the first prize for this magnificent poem! When I read your poem, I feel as though I am sitting with you and Heather in the audience of hundreds enjoying Maya Angelou’s performance. Thanks for sharing this special poem once again.
    Love, Mary

  3. Alice. As we continuously cross the spanned connectors of time, I am once again inspired by a great poet of the Lakes. What a wonderful tribute you have again crafted. Hats off to you and your magical skills. dp

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