Maya Angelou's Inaugural Poem (1993)

mr. president and mrs. Clinton missed the vice president and mrs. gore and Americans everywhere a rock a river a tree hosts two species long since departed marked the Mastodon the dinosaur who left dry tokens of their sojourn here on our planet floor any broad alarm of their hastening doom is lost in the gloom of dust and ages but today the rock cries out to us clearly forcefully come you may stand up on my back and face your distant destiny but seek no haven in my shadow I will give you no hiding place down here you created only a little lower than the Angels have crouched too long in the bruising darkness have lain too long facedown in ignorance your mouths spilling words armed for slaughter the rock cries out to us today you may stand upon me but do not hide your face across the wall of the world a river sings a beautiful song it says come rest here by my side each of you a bordered country it's delicate and strangely made proud yet thrusting perpetually under siege your armed struggles for profit have left colors of waste upon my Shore currents of debris upon my breast yet today I call you to my Riverside if you will study War no more come clad in peace and I will sing the songs the creator gave to me when I and the tree and the rock were one before cynicism was a bloody SIA across your brow and when you yet knew you still knew nothing the river sang and sings on there is a true yearning to respond to the singing River and the wise Rock so say the Asian the Hispanic the Jew the African the Native American the Sioux the Catholic the Muslim the French the Greek the Irish the rabbi the priest the Sheik the gay the straight the preacher the privileged the homeless the teacher they all hear the speaking of the tree they hear the first and last of every tree speak to humankind today come to me here beside the river plant yourself beside the river each of you descendant of some past own traveller has been paid for you who gave me my first name you pony Apache Seneca you Cherokee Nation who rested with me then for stone bloody feet left me to the employment of other seekers desperate for game starving for the Turk the Arab the Swede the German the Eskimo the Scot you the Ashanti the Yerba the crew bought sold stolen arriving on a nightmare praying for a dream here root yourselves beside me I am that tree planted by the river which will not be moved either rock either River I the tree I am yours your passages have been paid lift up your faces you have a piercing need for this bright morning dawning for you history despite its wrenching pain cannot be unlived but if faced with courage not be lived again lift up your eyes upon this day breaking for you give birth again to the dream women children men take it into the palms of your hands mold it into the shape of your most private need sculpted into the image of your most public self lift up your hearts each new hour holds new chances for new beginnings do not be wedded forever to fear yoked eternally to brutishness the horizon leans forward offering you space to place new steps of change here on the pulse of this fine day you may have the courage to look up and out and upon me the rock the river the tree your country no less to Midas than the mendicant no less to you now than the mastodon then here on the pulse of this new day you may have the grace to look up and out and into your sisters eyes and into your brother's face your country and say simply very simply with hope good morning Oh you

33 thoughts on “Maya Angelou's Inaugural Poem (1993)

  1. A lesbian ex-prostitute & madam, which makes her a hero to most Democrats, literally. Oh yeah, & she wrote a poem they like. With blacks as victims & whites as oppressors. Got it, no surprise.

  2. The beauty of her voice, her words, her message. And the joy of listening, taking her words in, knowing the truth behind her words, the look of love from President Clinton.
    Now, more than ever we need to listen to her words.

  3. This woman changed my view on literature during the end of my school days. I went from the edge of failure and not attending lessons to getting a B in the final tests. My teacher loved Maya Angelou and taught her words with all the passion and emotional she could, she believed in the beauty of the words Maya Angelou spoke. She's motivated me to start writing myself and I will be uploading these on my channel. I may not be able to speak words like Maya Angelou but there's an unbelievable sense of fulfilment in expressing yourself in writing. I hope she can rest knowing how many people she has inspired and gave meaning into their lives.

  4. LTJ Bukem sampled 4:50 … Just in case someone wants to sample this message like he did!

  5. I am not sure if they have ears for her wisdom. But this is the only wisdom that can truly bring us together.

  6. and then trump drained the river , broke the rock and felled the tree to build a golden palace for his whores . and the world wept !

  7. You may stand upon my rock, but you cannot hide your face I love her and listen to this often "do not wed to fear"""" I miss her and the silence is deafening. It is why I read her

  8. I have a tattoo in the middle of my shoulders with the text: Horizons Leans Forward offering you space to place new steps of change. First i only know it by LTJ Bukem from the music Horizons. Now i see her for the first time! I love this woman

  9. I get chilled and warmth to my soul when I hear Ms Angelou Bless her

  10. If you're looking for the sample used in LTJ Bukem's "Horizons", it starts at 4:51

  11. Good morning indeed. What an inspirational life. Wise beyond words.

  12. gives me chills every time I watch this. like to watch first thing in the morning for inspiration. a truly phenomenal woman and will be missed by millions.


  14. The depth of this poem is remarkable. May we all learn from her vision for us.

  15. Be for real. Just a bunch of words that make no sense whatsoever.

  16. I love the comment Rush Limbaugh made about this Angelou poem (which YOU or I could have written).  Recall that at this moment we still had Desert Storm War troops in Iraq.  Rush said that Saddam Hussein had to be listening to the poem thinking it was a coded message to our troops in the field.

  17. This is not the complete poem as I remember listening to at Irwin Middle school when I was a pupil, listening live w my head on the desk. (I am 34y.o. now)..

  18. love it. so beautifull so amzing so inspiring so wonderfull great and blessed.

  19. I posted this widely on the internet this morning. Hillary Clinton has made history!

  20. Hypocritical ape.  "Peace" while she was a staunch supporter of Malcolm x and forcible communism.  Funny how she blames her people's inability to compete amongst all the other races of the world on white people…

  21. "Each new hour holds new chances for new beginnings … the horizon leans forward, offering you space to place new steps of change."

  22. So I just watched Alexander and Blanco's poems at Obama's inaugurations…what the hell happened to poetry!! This is how a poem is made, read, said!

  23. Words can't even describe how beautiful this woman was inside and out. An icon. A treasure. Just a beautiful woman who loved.

  24. Maya's words, her voice, enlivens my soul. A truly great human being of amazing grace, spirit and teaching.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *