Maya Angelou Poets Page

Paeans


Performed at the Washington, D.C. Millenium Celebration


The bells are a-clamorŠ
chimes have been loosed
there is a banquet of Hosannas in the air.


We have endured endless peaks of pain and valleys of loneliness;
We have lost beloved's we could not live without; yet we have lived.


We have encountered unforgivable cruelty; yet we have forgiven yet we have
been forgiven.


We have survived, flourished, and thrived with passion, compassion, humor
and style. We have been fortunate and worthy.


Now we stand, heavy laden, before a great gate which leads to the rest of
all time. It swings ajar, and we know at this critical moment that not all
we carry need enter when we enter.


We can evict hate and scorn from our souls; we can open clenched fists, and
let bigotry, malice and enmity fall back down the slope to yesterday.


We can lay down our burden of violence and step lightly over the lintel into
a vernal and newly-minted tomorrow.


We, who never saw a new century; we, who never saw a new one thousand years,
can join the hallelujah, the hymns, the paeans, the voices all over the world.


We can shout or whisper, scream or mumble:
Happy New Millennium!
 Happy New Century!!
  Happy New Year!!!

Written by Maya Angelou

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