Celebrations: Rituals of Peace and Prayer

Celebrations: Rituals of Peace and Prayer

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by Maya Angelou
     
 

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Grace, dignity, and eloquence have long been hallmarks of Maya Angelou’s poetry. Her measured verses have stirred our souls, energized our minds, and healed our hearts. Whether offering hope in the darkest of nights or expressing sincere joy at the extraordinariness of the everyday, Maya Angelou has served as our common voice.

Celebrations is a collection

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Overview

Grace, dignity, and eloquence have long been hallmarks of Maya Angelou’s poetry. Her measured verses have stirred our souls, energized our minds, and healed our hearts. Whether offering hope in the darkest of nights or expressing sincere joy at the extraordinariness of the everyday, Maya Angelou has served as our common voice.

Celebrations is a collection of timely and timeless poems that are an integral part of the global fabric. Several works have become nearly as iconic as Angelou herself: the inspiring "On the Pulse of Morning," read at President William Jefferson Clinton’s 1993 inauguration; the heartening "Amazing Peace," presented at the 2005 lighting of the National Christmas Tree at the White House; "A Brave and Startling Truth," which marked the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations; and "Mother," which beautifully honors the first woman in our lives. Angelou writes of celebrations public and private, a bar mitzvah wish to her nephew, a birthday greeting to Oprah Winfrey, and a memorial tribute to the late Luther Vandross and Barry White.

More than a writer, Angelou is a chronicler of history, an advocate for peace, and a champion for the planet, as well as a patriot, a mentor, and a friend. To be shared and cherished, the wisdom and poetry of Maya Angelou proves there is always cause for celebration.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780739340271
Publisher:
Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/24/2006
Edition description:
Unabridged
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 5.89(h) x 0.65(d)

Read an Excerpt

A BRAVE AND STARTLING TRUTH

Dedicated to the hope for peace, which lies,
sometimes hidden, in every heart.

We, this people, on a small and lonely planet Traveling through casual space Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns To a destination where all signs tell us It is possible and imperative that we learn A brave and startling truth.
And when we come to it To the day of peacemaking When we release our fingers From fists of hostility When we come to it

When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean When battlefields and coliseum No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters Up with the bruised and bloody grass To lay them in identical plots in foreign soil When the rapacious storming of the churches The screaming racket in the temples have ceased When the pennants are waving gaily When the banners of the world tremble Stoutly in a good, clean breeze

When we come to it When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders And our children can dress their dolls in flags of truce When land mines of death have been removed And the aged can walk into evenings of peace When religious ritual is not perfumed By the incense of burning flesh And childhood dreams are not kicked awake By nightmares of sexual abuse When we come to it Then we will confess that not the Pyramids With their stones set in mysterious perfection Nor the Gardens of Babylon Hanging as eternal beauty In our collective memory Not the Grand Canyon Kindled into delicious color By Western sunsets Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji Stretching to the Rising Sun Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor,
Nurtures all creatures in their depths and on their shores These are not the only wonders of the world

When we come to it We, this people, on this minuscule globe Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade,
and the dagger Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace We, this people, on this mote of matter In whose mouths abide cankerous words Which challenge our very existence Yet out of those same mouths Can come songs of such exquisite sweetness That the heart falters in its labor And the body is quieted into awe 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, we are the true wonder of this world That is when, and only when,
We come to it.

From the Hardcover edition.

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