As we know, the word love is a universal term that is used throughout the world to convey different forms of affection.  This one word holds several meanings and can be expressed for many different situations and reasons. It is intriguing to find that the Ancient Greeks expressed love with several different words that had their own meanings. Whenever I talk about the meanings of my poems, I always say they are all about love.  So, I find it fitting that these charming Greek words of love can be used to signify the chapters for the book.

In From an Open Heart, five of these Ancient Greek words of love have been used: ÉrosPhilíaAgápeStorgē, and Philautia.

Éros expresses the passionate aspect of love.

Philía signifies the friendship or brotherly love meaning of love.

Agápe can be understood as unconditional love, which may be considered the highest form of love.

Storgē is considered a familial type of love.

Philautia is an expression of self love.


A World Unknown
Chimes of Love
Not My Daddy
I Made It
I’m Gone
Keep Getting Up
Let Go
Let Us Celebrate
A Mental Moment
Love and Laugh
Reality and Illusion
Strong Black Women
Communication 101
Knowing Love
Understanding Me
Me to You
I Want
Celebrate You
Flowing Tears
Sincerest Apology
Little Brown Country Girl
Cellular World


Have Mercy
Mama Judy
Tiny Bulb
So, I Write
Shaky Faith
My Simple Prayer
Butterfly Wings
Sparkle of Life
Marriage Understanding


A Single Kiss
Almond eyes
Days like This
Ferris Wheel
He is Me
In A Moment
Soul’s Destiny
So Sweet
The Goodness That is You
The Journey
Them Cheeks
With or Without You
Autumn Love
Out of My Life
To Know Love
Bags Packed


Beautiful Sister
Dearest Mother
Crying for Him
Everything Will Be Alright
Loved You
My Ace
Not Alone
Shine on Sweets
What Happened To Those Days?
Needed Apology
Rare Diamond
I Wish
A Message from Freedom


Blue Bird
Crossing Paths
If Only


To the woman who has loved me the hardest and prayed for me the most through the ups and downs of my life journey, my extraordinary mother, Sandra Samuel.  Your foundation of love has made me the woman I am today.  You are my SHERO.

Can I say I am in love with love?  All my life has been a journey about love.  I have always carried this fascination about different aspects of love, especially self-love.  At times, I have been called selfish because I chose myself over another and/or did things that benefited my growth. I did this with no ill intentions. The real lesson in this lifetime is that I had to discover the love within myself, first, then allow it to heal my wounded parts.  This also led to me allowing myself to be loved, something that is much harder than I realized.

My belief is that all experiences lead back to one thing…love.  Even with those experiences that have not been the best, and the encounters with people who have not had the best intentions, they all brought me to a higher awareness of love.  Along my journey, I had to find forgiveness for those things and people to move forward.  Forgiveness is for real warriors of life, for it is the battle that most of us struggle with and sometimes never conquer. The major lesson in this for me, forgiveness=love. Let me be clear, forgiving…yes, forgetting…no.  With that said, I am grateful…thank you God.

I am thankful for the strength and security of the terrific man in my life, my husband Doug, who has shown me the type of support and love that I always dreamt about.  Honey, thank you for allowing me to be me. I do stand in the awareness, I am a lot to handle…at times.  I am grateful to my brother and my sister, Terrelle and Tamego, for our experiences and memories that have filled our home with so much laugher and love. To Patricia Monts, for being a woman of substantial character who has shared with me invaluable wisdom and love.

To Jessica Dickens, Margo Griffin, and Katrina Johnson, my distinct fantabulous sister-friends, I sincerely thank you guys for being my sounding boards and allowing me to experience your different definitions and expressions of love and life.  Maia Wilson, my gifted spiritual sister-friend, you are one of a kind.  For the time you have shared so freely, I am forever indebted. To all my other amazing friends, and awesome people who have supported me throughout my journey, you guys are invaluable, thank you.

Lastly, a special thank you to my editor, Vjange Hazle, for using your expertise to help me bring my vision of this book into fruition; this was most certainly Divine timing.

As a single mother, busy with two ambitious teens and performing in a Broadway show eight times a week, the thought of love takes a backseat. Now, naturally, I love my children and my career, but sometimes I don’t notice if my heart is truly open or not. That is why I am grateful to have a dear sista friend like Shaunda Hale Opalacz in my life. We talk about love and life with such vigor that sometimes conversations on the phone last 3 hours or more. Our friendship is a deeply rooted bond that encores honesty and support, so when she told me she was writing this book, I was elated to say the least.

Shaunda has opened her heart with prose that invites you to explore your heart’s center. This book of expressed feelings is a straightforward and warm balladry, lovely in its design and structure. Its transparency depicts a garden of thoughts that inspires one to find the key to their heart. Like many of us, Shaunda is no stranger to challenges in her life, and I have been blessed to witness her rise above adversities grounded in peace that only an open heart lends.

My heart has expanded while inviting you to explore this collection of lyricism, much like the many encouraging conversations I’ve had with Shaunda. I am excited for you, to embark on a journey to listen to your heart while Shaunda shares hers. So, like the beginning of her poem “Sparkle of Life” lends, “Into this world a beautiful sparkle of life set forth on a journey towards the unlimited, bearing only gifts of joy.” Enjoy the ride From An Open Heart.

Maia Nkenge Wilson