It is currently circulating on Facebook. (No pun intended.)
I actually met Maya Angelou (or attended one of her readings, really) when I was a student at Longwood High School. Our English class took a field trip to Suffolk Community College in New York in … 1988 or 1989, I think. One of my alums piped in on Facebook to say he remembers too.
from “On the Pulse of Morning,” by Maya Angelou
A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon,
The dinosaur, who left dried 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 upon 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.
— Thanks, Poetry Foundation: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/178949
I heard her speak when I was 16 years old at Hofstra University in New York. Her voice was deep and beautiful.
Angelou reading “And Still I Rise,” also at CNN: