Maya Angelou

(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)

Million Man March Poem

Poem by Maya Angelou

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.


Comments about Million Man March Poem by Maya Angelou

  • Me Poet Yeps PoetMe Poet Yeps Poet (5/12/2020 1:30:00 PM)

    poets who are sincere and deep are never outta reach I beseech let her RISE even now though after her demise RISE poetess rise the world will stand by few have the strength as have thee poetess a times marvel are ye(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • Manpreet SinghManpreet Singh (8/20/2019 10:52:00 PM)

    The hells we have lived through and live through still,
    Have sharpened our senses and toughened our will.

    I find this line quite epigrammatic, and philosophical. The depth of this poem makes you nauseous.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Dr Tony BrahminDr Tony Brahmin (8/20/2019 12:12:00 PM)

    I say, the night has been long,
    The wound has been deep,
    The pit has been dark
    And the walls have been steep. apartheid experiences .. well portryed.. tony(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Kumarmani MahakulKumarmani Mahakul (8/20/2019 9:33:00 AM)

    Let us come together and revise our spirits,
    Let us come together and cleanse our souls, .......yes, let' s so. A brilliant poem is nicely executed.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Alouwou Mandjah (8/20/2019 7:56:00 AM)

    Still rising Maya the immortal(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Parameswaran Nair Damodaran Nair(DPN) (8/20/2019 7:34:00 AM)

    It's the iron will of a revolutionary to ponder the hells lived through(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Mahtab BangaleeMahtab Bangalee (8/20/2019 1:45:00 AM)

    I say, the night has been long,
    The wound has been deep,
    The pit has been dark
    And the walls have been steep......../// beautiful and excellent poetic expression(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Aniruddha PathakAniruddha Pathak (8/20/2019 1:01:00 AM)

    What a beautiful quatrain used as a refrain repeated a couple of times.
    And how nicely the poem ends with a hopeful sentiment.
    Lovely.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Ratnakar Mandlik (7/2/2019 10:32:00 AM)

    " The night has been long
    The wound has been deep
    The pit has been dark
    And the walls have been steep" .
    A great poem with deep meaning.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Edmund StrolisEdmund Strolis (6/3/2018 10:13:00 AM)

    A marcher forever looking over your shoulder toward the ever-receding past will never see your destination and the present possibilities will always be missed.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • bored as (5/28/2018 1:11:00 PM)

    poems are dumb just like your mum you have no life pls cut your self with a knife(Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    9 person did not like.
  • Beach GirlBeach Girl (11/28/2017 11:35:00 AM)

    Glorious poem, full of pain and joy, hurt and healing. Her words are an inspiration to everyone.(Report)Reply

    7 person liked.
    9 person did not like.
  • chickennuggets656 (11/27/2017 7:24:00 AM)

    she is wonderful poet we are so blessed with her(Report)Reply

    11 person liked.
    8 person did not like.
  • Resh Kav (6/24/2017 10:48:00 AM)

    Claps Claps Claps. amazing write(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • Shah SurjaShah Surja (11/26/2015 1:56:00 PM)

    The ancestors remind us, despite the
    history of pain
    We are a going-on people who will
    rise again.
    And still we rise.(Report)Reply

    14 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • Curtis Johnson (11/9/2015 3:13:00 AM)

    May Maya's words continue to speak of legacy's child who must pass on, but whose messages never die.(Report)Reply

    11 person liked.
    8 person did not like.
  • Susan WilliamsSusan Williams (10/16/2015 7:01:00 PM)

    she is a well-loved and respected voice in literature, a strong voice, a compassionate voice, a thoughtful voice... we have all been blessed by her life and poetry(Report)Reply

    Edmund StrolisEdmund Strolis(6/3/2018 10:16:00 AM)

    Oh Zuzan reading this poem and knowing your passion for riding isn't it obvious when a dead horse has been beaten to death? ........a big yawn from me.

    41 person liked.
    7 person did not like.
  • Hebert Logerie Sr.Hebert Logerie Sr. (10/16/2015 9:45:00 AM)

    We are like a spring, which cannot go down. We are like the sun, which cannot go down; we are like the moon, which cannot go down. We will NOT disappear; and still we will rise. Toussaint Louverture, our great General, was right. The roots will spring everywhere; and the seeds have been spread all over the world. We will rise again, again, like Africa, like America. We are the world, because the world came from us.(Report)Reply

    11 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • Bharati NayakBharati Nayak (10/16/2015 8:52:00 AM)

    Clap hands, let us invite joy into our conversation
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Ancestors remind us, despite the history of pain
    We are going- on people who will rise again

    And still we rise- - - -The indomitable spirit to rise is profoundly expressed.(Report)Reply

    5 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • Ratnakar Mandlik (10/16/2015 7:40:00 AM)

    Very touching and inhuman experiences through which the freedom fighters passed have been nicely narrated. Hats off. Ten points.(Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    8 person did not like.
Read all 38 comments »




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Read poems about / on: history, together, beach, dark, family, freedom, night, today, joy, people, pain, sky, poem, rose, wind



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003