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Napa-Sonoma Half Marathon, July 20, 2014
Noble Canyon 50km Trail, September 20, 2014

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Maya Angelou Waxes Olympic

One of the many gifts we received at Team Processing was a DVD of Maya Angelou reading her poem "Amazement Awaits." The DVD shows scenes from previous Olympic Games, athletes from all over the world competing in numerous sports.

Depending on whom you believe, the poem was an inspired, unsolicited contribution from Angelou to the Olympic movement or a commissioned piece in the tradition of many past literary masters, Shakespeare included. Either way, I think the poem captures the spirit of the Games in both metaphor and reality.


by Maya Angelou

Sheer amazement awaits
Amazement luxuriant in promise
Abundant in wonder

Our beautiful children arrive at this Universal stadium
They have bathed in the waters of the world
And carry the soft silt of the Amazon, the Nile,
The Danube, the Rhine, the Yangtze and the Mississippi
In the palms of their right hands.
A wild tiger nestles in each armpit
And a meadowlark perches on each shoulder.

We, the world audience, stand, arms akimbo,
Longing for the passion of the animal
And the melody of the lark
The tigers passion attend the opening bells,
The birds sing of the amazement which awaits.

The miracle of joy that comes out of the gathering of our best, bringing their best,
Displaying the splendor of their bodies and the radiance of their agile minds to the cosmos.
Encouragement to those other youth caught in the maws of poverty,
Crippled by the terror of ignorance.

They say Brothers and Sisters, Yes, try. Then try harder.
Lunge forward, press eagerly for release.
The amazement which awaits is for you.
We are here at the portal of the world we had wished for
At the lintel of the world we most need.
We are here roaring and singing.
We prove that we can not only make peace, we can bring it with us.

With respect for the world and its people,
We can compete passionately without hatred.
With respect for the world and its people,
We can take pride in the achievement of strangers.
With respect for the world and its people,
We can share openly in the success of friends.
Here then is the Amazement
Against the odds of impending war

In the mouth of bloody greed
Human grace and human spirit can still conquer.
Ah … We discover, we ourselves
Are the Amazement which awaits
We are ourselves Amazement.

Artwork by Cristóbal Gabarrón titled "Amazement Awaits"

1 comment:

Melanie Young said...

Beautiful - as always from Ms. Angelou. Thanks for sharing it - and all your posts! We in San Diego have really enjoyed watching you, along with the rest of the world, live out your dream! It is inspiring; we all have them, and I think, like Maya says, much of the magic of the Games is being privy to yours - and all the athletes'. Hope to see you safely back home and soon and look forward to hearing more stories about those track athletes' insights! (Miles too seems to have acquired celebrity!

Melanie & Darren Young (borrowers of the infamous shovel)