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Best Famous Maya Angelou Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Maya Angelou poems. This is a select list of the best famous Maya Angelou poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Maya Angelou poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of maya angelou poems.

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Written by Maya Angelou |

Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? 'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I'll rise.
Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.
Does my haughtiness offend you? Don't you take it awful hard 'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines Diggin' in my own back yard.
You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I'll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise That I dance like I've got diamonds At the meeting of my thighs? Out of the huts of history's shame I rise Up from a past that's rooted in pain I rise I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide, Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear I rise Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear I rise Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise I rise I rise.

Written by Maya Angelou |

The Lesson

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 challenge.
The years And cold defeat live deep in Lines along my face.
They dull my eyes, yet I keep on dying, Because I love to live.

Written by Maya Angelou |

Touched by An Angel

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.
Love arrives and in its train come ecstasies old memories of pleasure ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold, love strikes away the chains of fear from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity In the flush of love's light we dare be brave And suddenly we see that love costs all we are and will ever be.
Yet it is only love which sets us free.

More great poems below...

Written by Maya Angelou |

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.
But a bird that stalks down his narrow cage can seldom see through his bars of rage his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings with fearful trill of the things unknown but longed for still and his tune is heard on the distant hill for the caged bird sings of freedom The free bird thinks of another breeze and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn and he names the sky his own.
But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing The caged bird sings with a fearful trill of things unknown but longed for still and his tune is heard on the distant hill for the caged bird sings of freedom.

Written by Maya Angelou |

When You Come

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 kisses.
Trinkets of borrowed loves.
Trunks of secret words, I cry.

Written by Maya Angelou |

Passing Time

Your skin like dawn
Mine like musk

One paints the beginning
of a certain end.
The other, the end of a sure beginning.

Written by Maya Angelou |

Phenomenal Woman

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 reach of my arms The span of my hips, The stride of my step, The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman, That's me.
I walk into a room Just as cool as you please, And to a man, The fellows stand or Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me, A hive of honey bees.
I say, It's the fire in my eyes, And the flash of my teeth, The swing in my waist, And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman, That's me.
Men themselves have wondered What they see in me.
They try so much But they can't touch My inner mystery.
When I try to show them They say they still can't see.
I say, It's in the arch of my back, The sun of my smile, The ride of my breasts, The grace of my style.
I'm a woman Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman, That's me.
Now you understand Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing It ought to make you proud.
I say, It's in the click of my heels, The bend of my hair, the palm of my hand, The need of my care, 'Cause I'm a woman Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman, That's me.

Written by Maya Angelou |

A Conceit

Give me your hand

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

Written 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 rapes my reason When you have withdrawn your self and the magic, when only the smell of your love lingers between my breasts, then, only then, can I greedily consume your presence.

Written by Maya Angelou |

Million Man March Poem

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 just beyond your reach.
Your hands were tied, your mouth was bound, You couldn't even call out my name.
You were helpless and so was I, But unfortunately throughout history You've worn a badge of shame.
I say, the night has been long, The wound has been deep, The pit has been dark And the walls have been steep.
But today, voices of old spirit sound Speak to us in words profound, Across the years, across the centuries, Across the oceans, and across the seas.
They say, draw near to one another, Save your race.
You have been paid for in a distant place, The old ones remind us that slavery's chains Have paid for our freedom again and again.
The night has been long, The pit has been deep, The night has been dark, And the walls have been steep.
The hells we have lived through and live through still, Have sharpened our senses and toughened our will.
The night has been long.
This morning I look through your anguish Right down to your soul.
I know that with each other we can make ourselves whole.
I look through the posture and past your disguise, And see your love for family in your big brown eyes.
I say, clap hands and let's come together in this meeting ground, I say, clap hands and let's deal with each other with love, I say, clap hands and let us get from the low road of indifference, Clap hands, let us come together and reveal our hearts, Let us come together and revise our spirits, Let us come together and cleanse our souls, Clap hands, let's leave the preening And stop impostering our own history.
Clap hands, call the spirits back from the ledge, Clap hands, let us invite joy into our conversation, Courtesy into our bedrooms, Gentleness into our kitchen, Care into our nursery.
The ancestors remind us, despite the history of pain We are a going-on people who will rise again.
And still we rise.
Poem read at the Million Man March

Written 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 somewhere.
They knew I was there.
Fifteen Years old and starving for them.
Under my window, they would pauses, Their shoulders high like the Breasts of a young girl, Jacket tails slapping over Those behinds, Men.
One day they hold you in the Palms of their hands, gentle, as if you Were the last raw egg in the world.
Then They tighten up.
Just a little.
The First squeeze is nice.
A quick hug.
Soft into your defenselessness.
A little More.
The hurt begins.
Wrench out a Smile that slides around the fear.
When the Air disappears, Your mind pops, exploding fiercely, briefly, Like the head of a kitchen match.
It is your juice That runs down their legs.
Staining their shoes.
When the earth rights itself again, And taste tries to return to the tongue, Your body has slammed shut.
No keys exist.
Then the window draws full upon Your mind.
There, just beyond The sway of curtains, men walk.
Knowing something.
Going someplace.
But this time, I will simply Stand and watch.

Written by Maya Angelou |

Life doesn't frighten me at all

Shadows on the wall
Noises down the hall
Life doesn't frighten me at all
Bad dogs barking loud
Big ghosts in a cloud
Life doesn't frighten me at all
Mean old Mother Goose
Lions on the loose
They don't frighten me at all
Dragons breathing flame
On my counterpane
That doesn't frighten me at all.
I go boo
Make them shoo
I make fun
Way they run
I won't cry
So they fly
I just smile
They go wild
Life doesn't frighten me at all.
Tough guys fight
All alone at night
Life doesn't frighten me at all.
Panthers in the park
Strangers in the dark
No, they don't frighten me at all.
That new classroom where
Boys all pull my hair
(Kissy little girls
With their hair in curls)
They don't frighten me at all.
Don't show me frogs and snakes
And listen for my scream,
If I'm afraid at all
It's only in my dreams.
I've got a magic charm
That I keep up my sleeve
I can walk the ocean floor
And never have to breathe.
Life doesn't frighten me at all
Not at all
Not at all.
Life doesn't frighten me at all.

Written by Maya Angelou |

Woman Work

 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 got shirts to press
The tots to dress
The can to be cut
I gotta clean up this hut
Then see about the sick
And the cotton to pick.
Shine on me, sunshine Rain on me, rain Fall softly, dewdrops And cool my brow again.
Storm, blow me from here With your fiercest wind Let me float across the sky 'Til I can rest again.
Fall gently, snowflakes Cover me with white Cold icy kisses and Let me rest tonight.
Sun, rain, curving sky Mountain, oceans, leaf and stone Star shine, moon glow You're all that I can call my own.

Written 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 nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.
Alone, all alone Nobody, but nobody Can make it out here alone.
There are some millionaires With money they can't use Their wives run round like banshees Their children sing the blues They've got expensive doctors To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody No, nobody Can make it out here alone.
Alone, all alone Nobody, but nobody Can make it out here alone.
Now if you listen closely I'll tell you what I know Storm clouds are gathering The wind is gonna blow The race of man is suffering And I can hear the moan, 'Cause nobody, But nobody Can make it out here alone.
Alone, all alone Nobody, but nobody Can make it out here alone.

Written 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 painful.