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Poetry excerpt :: 'A Brave and Startling Truth'

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Los Gatos, California, December 2006. Photo by Naveen Jamal, www.Flickr.com/photos/naveenjamal
Los Gatos, California, December 2006.
Photo by Naveen Jamal, www.Flickr.com/photos/naveenjamal

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.

Book cover of Maya Angelou's 'Celebrations: Rituals of Peace and Prayer' (Random House, October 2006)


Maya Angelou
“Celebrations: Rituals of Peace and Prayer”
Random House, October 2006

Maya Angelou's “Celebrations” is a collection of poems that have become an integral part of the global fabric. Several works have become nearly as iconic as Angelou herself, such as “A Brave and Startling Truth,” which marked the 50th anniversary of the United Nations.

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