“Here on the pulse of this new day

You may have the grace to look up and out

And into your sister’s eyes,

And into your brother’s face,

Your country,

And say simply

Very simply

With hope—

Good morning.”

The volume and number of books I’ve picked up over the past few weeks have continued to dwindle (thanks to Paediatrics), which explains why I have read more short stories in that timeframe. It also explains why I read this ‘book’, which is actually just one poem. So, I really am trying to convince you, and not confuse you, as to why you should read one poem.

First of all, it’s just one poem. This is definitely the shortest book I’ve read this year and is something you can easily pick up to see what the fuss is all about. Something to bring some spark into that unnecessarily long ward round, that very boring class or even that very exhausting day. Also, this piece has some amazing history surrounding it. It was written and read by Maya Angelou (the great) at the first inauguration of President Bill Clinton on January 20, 1993. This made her the first African American, woman, and the second poet in history to read a poem at a presidential inauguration. The first inaugural poet was Robert Frost and he did so at the 1961 inauguration of John F. Kennedy (You’re welcome for the brief history lesson). Maya Angelou’s audio recording of the poem won the 1993 Grammy Award in the “Best Spoken Word” category. Do you see where I’m going with this? This poem is GOATED.

History, despite its wrenching pain,

Cannot be unlived, but if faced

With courage, need not be lived again.

Lift up your eyes

Upon this day breaking for you.

Give birth again

To the dream.

It is common knowledge that Maya Angelou is very good at what she does, and many describe this as her greatest work ever (Well, I’d be very motivated too if I were to read a poem at a presidential inauguration). While I do not agree with these ‘many’, I however think that it is indeed a beautiful piece. Its most attractive quality is its simplicity, how easy it is to connect to and get lost in the poem. For me, the theme at its very core is hope, a reminder that the mistakes of the past need not be repeated. Maya does not speak like a motivational speaker, but as a comrade. Like one who has walked the path of pain and perhaps hopelessness before. While this book is one that you would most likely read for 30minutes, I promise that it is one that will stay with you forever.

Rumours have it that some of us do not like poetry; I still hope that we’ll give it a try. I will now proceed to shamelessly tick this as ‘read’ on my Goodreads account. Another ‘book’ down, let me get back to the 24-paged slide I’ve been reading since last week Monday.

  1. The girl who cried wolf says

    Well said, Juwon. Maya Angelou has a way with words (and I know this is such a lazy attempt at describing her art).

    1. Juwon Olawuyi says

      A QUEEN!

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