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This title in other editions

Celebrations: Rituals of Peace and Prayer


Celebrations: Rituals of Peace and Prayer Cover





Dedicated to the hope for peace, which lies,

sometimes hidden, in every heart.

We, this people, on a small and lonely planet

Traveling through casual space

Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent


To a destination where all signs tell us

It is possible and imperative that we learn

A brave and startling truth.

And when we come to it

To the day of peacemaking

When we release our fingers

From fists of hostility

When we come to it

When the curtain falls on the minstrel show

of hate

And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed


When battlefields and coliseum

No longer rake our unique and particular

sons and daughters

Up with the bruised and bloody grass

To lay them in identical plots in foreign soil

When the rapacious storming of the churches

The screaming racket in the temples have


When the pennants are waving gaily

When the banners of the world tremble

Stoutly in a good, clean breeze

When we come to it

When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders

And our children can dress their dolls in flags

of truce

When land mines of death have been removed

And the aged can walk into evenings of peace

When religious ritual is not perfumed

By the incense of burning flesh

And childhood dreams are not kicked awake

By nightmares of sexual abuse

When we come to it

Then we will confess that not the Pyramids

With their stones set in mysterious perfection

Nor the Gardens of Babylon

Hanging as eternal beauty

In our collective memory

Not the Grand Canyon

Kindled into delicious color

By Western sunsets

Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into


Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji

Stretching to the Rising Sun

Neither Father Amazon nor Mother


who, without favor,

Nurtures all creatures in their depths and on

their shores

These are not the only wonders of

the world

When we come to it

We, this people, on this minuscule globe

Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade,

and the dagger

Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of


We, this people, on this mote of matter

In whose mouths abide cankerous words

Which challenge our very existence

Yet out of those same mouths

Can come songs of such exquisite sweetness

That the heart falters in its labor

And the body is quieted into awe

We, this people, on this small and drifting


Whose hands can strike with such abandon

That, in a twinkling, life is sapped from the


Yet those same hands can touch with such


irresistible tenderness,

That the haughty neck is happy to bow

And the proud back is glad to bend

Out of such chaos, of such contradiction

We learn that we are neither devils nor


When we come to it

We, this people, on this wayward, floating


Created on this earth, of this earth

Have the power to fashion for this earth

A climate where every man and every woman

Can live freely without sanctimonious piety

Without crippling fear

When we come to it

We must confess that we are the possible

We are the miraculous, we are the true

wonder of this world

That is when, and only when,

We come to it.

Product Details

Angelou, Maya
Random House
American - African American
General Poetry
Poetry/African American
Edition Description:
One CD
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.00x5.80x.69 in. .51 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » American » African American

Celebrations: Rituals of Peace and Prayer Used Hardcover
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$16.95 In Stock
Product details 128 pages Random House - English 9781400066100 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Maya Angelou was raised in Stamps, Arkansas. In addition to her bestselling autobiographies, including I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and The Heart of a Woman, she wrote numerous volumes of poetry, among them Phenomenal Woman, And Still I Rise, On the Pulse of Morning, and Mother. Maya Angelou died in 2014.
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