Maya Angelou
Momma Welfare Roll by Maya Angelou

Momma Welfare Roll by Maya Angelou

Her arms semaphore fat triangles, Pudgy hands bunched on layered hips Where bones idle under years of fatback And lima beans. Her jowls shiver in accusation Of crimes cliched ...

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Refusal by Maya Angelou

Refusal by Maya Angelou

Beloved, In what other lives or lands Have I known your lips Your Hands Your Laughter brave Irreverent. Those sweet excesses that I do adore. What surety is there That we ...

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Alone by Maya Angelou

Alone by Maya Angelou

Lying, thinking Last night How to find my soul a home Where water is not thirsty And bread loaf is not stone I came up with one thing And I don't believe I'm wrong That ...

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Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may tread me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I'll rise. Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you ...

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Passing Time by Maya Angelou

Passing Time by Maya Angelou

Your skin like dawn Mine like musk One paints the beginning of a certain end. The other, the end of a sure beginning.

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Weekend Glory by Maya Angelou

Weekend Glory by Maya Angelou

Some clichty folks don't know the facts, posin' and preenin' and puttin' on acts, stretchin' their backs. They move into condos up over the ranks, pawn their souls to ...

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Insomniac by Maya Angelou

Insomniac by Maya Angelou

There are some nights when sleep plays coy, aloof and disdainful. And all the wiles that I employ to win its service to my side are useless as wounded pride, and much more ...

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The Detached by Maya Angelou

The Detached by Maya Angelou

We die, Welcoming Bluebeards to our darkening closets, Stranglers to our outstretched necks, Stranglers, who neither care nor care to know that DEATH IS INTERNAL. We pray, ...

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Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size But when I start to tell them, They think I'm telling lies. I say, It's in the ...

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The Lesson by Maya Angelou

The Lesson by Maya Angelou

I keep on dying again. Veins collapse, opening like the Small fists of sleeping Children. Memory of old tombs, Rotting flesh and worms do Not convince me against The ...

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Remembrance by Maya Angelou

Remembrance by Maya Angelou

Your hands easy weight, teasing the bees hived in my hair, your smile at the slope of my cheek. On the occasion, you press above me, glowing, spouting readiness, mystery ...

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They Went Home by Maya Angelou

They Went Home by Maya Angelou

They went home and told their wives, that never once in all their lives, had they known a girl like me, But... They went home. They said my house was licking clean, no word ...

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Woman Work by Maya Angelou

Woman Work by Maya Angelou

I've got the children to tend The clothes to mend The floor to mop The food to shop Then the chicken to fry The baby to dry I got company to feed The garden to weed I've ...

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Men by Maya Angelou

Men by Maya Angelou

When I was young, I used to Watch behind the curtains As men walked up and down the street. Wino men, old men. Young men sharp as mustard. See them. Men are always Going ...

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A Conceit by Maya Angelou

A Conceit by Maya Angelou

Give me your hand Make room for me to lead and follow you beyond this rage of poetry. Let others have the privacy of touching words and love of loss of love. For ...

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Caged Bird by Maya Angelou

Caged Bird by Maya Angelou

The free bird leapson the back of the windand floats downstreamtill the current endsand dips his wingsin the orange sun raysand dares to claim the sky.But a bird that stalksdown ...

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Touched By An Angel by Maya Angelou

Touched By An Angel by Maya Angelou

We, unaccustomed to courage exiles from delight live coiled in shells of loneliness until love leaves its high holy temple and comes into our sight to liberate us into life. ...

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A Plagued Journey by Maya Angelou

A Plagued Journey by Maya Angelou

There is no warning rattle at the door nor heavy feet to stomp the foyer boards. Safe in the dark prison, I know that light slides over the fingered work of a toothless woman ...

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On Aging by Maya Angelou

On Aging by Maya Angelou

When you see me sitting quietly, Like a sack left on the shelf, Don’t think I need your chattering. I’m listening to myself. Hold! Stop! Don’t pity me! Hold! Stop your ...

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Awaking In New York by Maya Angelou

Awaking In New York by Maya Angelou

Curtains forcing their will against the wind, children sleep, exchanging dreams with seraphim. The city drags itself awake on subway straps; and I, an alarm, awake as a ...

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Pickin Em Up and Layin Em Down by Maya Angelou

Pickin Em Up and Layin Em Down by Maya Angelou

There's a long-legged girl in San Francisco by the Golden Gate. She said she'd give me all I wanted but I just couldn't wait. I started to Pickin em up and layin em down, ...

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Equality by Maya Angelou

Equality by Maya Angelou

You declare you see me dimly through a glass which will not shine, though I stand before you boldly, trim in rank and marking time. You do own to hear me faintly as a whisper ...

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Recovery by Maya Angelou

Recovery by Maya Angelou

A Last love, proper in conclusion, should snip the wings forbidding further flight. But I, now, reft of that confusion, am lifted up and speeding toward the light.

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Million Man March Poem by Maya Angelou

Million Man March Poem by Maya Angelou

The night has been long, The wound has been deep, The pit has been dark, And the walls have been steep. Under a dead blue sky on a distant beach, I was dragged by my braids ...

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Human Family by Maya Angelou

Human Family by Maya Angelou

I note the obvious differences in the human family. Some of us are serious, some thrive on comedy. Some declare their lives are lived as true profundity, and others claim ...

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These Yet To Be United States by Maya Angelou

These Yet To Be United States by Maya Angelou

Tremors of your network cause kings to disappear. Your open mouth in anger makes nations bow in fear. Your bombs can change the seasons, obliterate the spring. What more ...

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A Brave And Startling Truth by Maya Angelou

A Brave And Startling Truth by Maya Angelou

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 ...

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California Prodigal by Maya Angelou

California Prodigal by Maya Angelou

FOR DAVID P—B The eye follows, the land Slips upward, creases down, forms The gentle buttocks of a young Giant. In the nestle, Old adobe bricks, washed of Whiteness, paled ...

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On The Pulse Of Morning by Maya Angelou

On The Pulse Of Morning by Maya Angelou

A Rock, A River, A Tree Hosts to species long since departed, Mark the mastodon. The dinosaur, who left dry tokens Of their sojourn here On our planet floor, Any broad alarm ...

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Televised by Maya Angelou

Televised by Maya Angelou

Televised news turns a half-used day into a waste of desolation. If nothing wondrous preceded the catastrophic announcements, certainly nothing will follow, save the ...

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The Mothering Blackness by Maya Angelou

The Mothering Blackness by Maya Angelou

She came home running back to the mothering blackness deep in the smothering blackness white tears icicle gold plains of her face She came home running She came down ...

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Savior by Maya Angelou

Savior by Maya Angelou

Petulant priests, greedy centurions, and one million incensed gestures stand between your love and me. Your agape sacrifice is reduced to colored glass, vapid penance, and ...

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We Had Him by Maya Angelou

We Had Him by Maya Angelou

Beloveds, now we know that we know nothing Now that our bright and shining star can slip away from our fingertips like a puff of summer wind Without notice, our dear love can ...

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Kin by Maya Angelou

Kin by Maya Angelou

FOR BAILEY We were entwined in red rings Of blood and loneliness before The first snows fell Before muddy rivers seeded clouds Above a virgin forest, and Men ran naked, ...

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When Great Trees Fall by Maya Angelou

When Great Trees Fall by Maya Angelou

When great trees fall, rocks on distant hills shudder, lions hunker down in tall grasses, and even elephants lumber after safety. When great trees fall in forests, small ...

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When You Come by Maya Angelou

When You Come by Maya Angelou

When you come to me, unbidden, Beckoning me To long-ago rooms, Where memories lie. Offering me, as to a child, an attic, Gatherings of days too few. Baubles of stolen ...

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When I Think About Myself by Maya Angelou

When I Think About Myself by Maya Angelou

When I think about myself, I almost laugh myself to death, My life has been one great big joke, A dance that's walked A song that's spoke, I laugh so hard I almost choke ...

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The Week of Diana by Maya Angelou

The Week of Diana by Maya Angelou

The dark lantern of world sadness has cast its shadow upon the land. We stumble into our misery on leaden feet. Our minds seek to comprehend the unknowable and our hearts ...

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The Traveller by Maya Angelou

The Traveller by Maya Angelou

Byways and bygone And lone nights long Sun rays and sea waves And star and stone Manless and friendless No cave my home This is my torture My long nights, lone

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The Rock Cries Out to Us Today by Maya Angelou

The Rock Cries Out to Us Today by Maya Angelou

A Rock, A River, A Tree Hosts to species long since departed, Mark the mastodon. The dinosaur, who left dry tokens Of their sojourn here On our planet floor, Any broad alarm ...

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Song for the Old Ones by Maya Angelou

Song for the Old Ones by Maya Angelou

My Fathers sit on benches their flesh counts every plank the slats leave dents of darkness deep in their withered flanks. They nod like broken candles all waxed and burnt ...

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Harlem Hopscotch by Maya Angelou

Harlem Hopscotch by Maya Angelou

One foot down, then hop! It's hot. Good things for the ones that's got. Another jump, now to the left. Everybody for hisself. In the air, now both feet down. Since you ...

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The Black Family Pledge by Maya Angelou

The Black Family Pledge by Maya Angelou

BECAUSE we have forgotten our ancestors, our children no longer give us honor. BECAUSE we have lost the path our ancestors cleared kneeling in perilous undergrowth, our ...

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In All Ways A Woman by Maya Angelou

In All Ways A Woman by Maya Angelou

In my young years I took pride in the fact that luck was called a lady. In fact, there were so few public acknowledgments of the female presence that I felt personally honored ...

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Ain’t That Bad? by Maya Angelou

Ain’t That Bad? by Maya Angelou

Dancin' the funky chicken Eatin' ribs and tips Diggin' all the latest sounds And drinkin' gin in sips. Puttin' down that do-rag Tighten' up my 'fro Wrappin' up in ...

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Our Grandmothers by Maya Angelou

Our Grandmothers by Maya Angelou

She lay, skin down in the moist dirt, the canebrake rustling with the whispers of leaves, and loud longing of hounds and the ransack of hunters crackling the near branches. ...

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Preacher, Don’t Send Me by Maya Angelou

Preacher, Don’t Send Me by Maya Angelou

Preacher, don't send me when I die to some big ghetto in the sky where rats eat cats of the leopard type and Sunday brunch is grits and tripe. I've known those rats ...

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I know why the caged bird sings by Maya Angelou

I know why the caged bird sings by Maya Angelou

A free bird leaps on the back Of the wind and floats downstream Till the current ends and dips his wing In the orange suns rays And dares to claim the sky. But a BIRD that ...

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Old Folks Laugh by Maya Angelou

Old Folks Laugh by Maya Angelou

They have spent their content of simpering, holding their lips this and that way, winding the lines between their brows. Old folks allow their bellies to jiggle like slow ...

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Son to Mother by Maya Angelou

Son to Mother by Maya Angelou

I start no wars, raining poison on cathedrals, melting Stars of David into golden faucets to be lighted by lamps shaded by human skin. I set no store on the strange ...

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