Analysis of 'On the Pulse of Morning' by Maya Angelou
The poem can be read below from this link.
Angelou has been figured a national celebrity since the reading of her poem, ' On
the Pulse of Morning', at President Clinton's inaugural in 1993. Maya's writings have a way of
embracing people and successfully state her thoughts and emotions. "Pulse" is a call for hope and opporitunity part of our history. Maya Angelou's poem ' On the Pulse of Morning' relates to diversity,
change over time, and equality. When analyzing her poem, we came across stanzas that relate to these topics.
Her poem has successfully portrayed a sense of diversity. Many lines in different stanzas
are related to diversity. Stanza four and five, states, "The singing River,and the wise Rock.
So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew, the African, the Native American, the Sioux, the Catholic,
the Muslim, the French , the Greek, the Irish, the Rabbi, the Sheik, the Gay, the
Straight, the Preacher, the privileged, the Homeless, the Teacher. They hear. They all hear the
speaking of the tree." They are united by nature, but different due to their culture. In stanza six
a lot about diversity has been acknowledged. The people who once helped Maya, do not anymore.
It also says that we arrived from the Indians.
In the course of history, elements of society have changed. Examples through
Maya's work are,"The dinosaur, who left dried tokens Of their sojourn here...
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." (stanza 1). The dinosaur, as you well know are now extinct. They have
left their "dried tokens" or their fossils here when they were once here. They
left them here for us to find. For the different groups to find. The dinosaurs
were "lost in the dust..." and it was hard for people to find, but now over the
years, the dinosaurs fossils have been found. Also the slave black African Americans
have come from the ancient homeland of Africa. The slaves were once hear and now
the United States passed a law that slavery was to be abolished. Over time
people places and all things have changed, for both good and bad.
Equality, is an important concern in the world today. "Women, chidren,
men, Take it into the palms of your hands..." (stanza 8) Our society
can be a loving one with equality for men, women, blacks, and whites.
Rich or poor we all have the same opportunities in our country. No matter
when in history we all appear. People think that people that are not
like them come from other planets, but we are all members of this planet.
No matter how strange we appear to be to others. "History, despite its
wrenching pain, Cannot be unlived, but if faced With courage, need not
to be lived again."(stanza 7) We learn from the past. The discrimination
should not happen again, nor the inequality.
Maya was successful in relating her poem to diversity, change
over time, and equality. She was a very talented writer, and this poem clearly
is a contribution to today's Civil Rights Movement.
'On The Pulse Of Morning' : An Inaugural Poem 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,
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.
Across the wall of the world,
A River sings a beautiful song. It says,
Come, rest here by my side.
Each of you, a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.
Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.
Yet today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more.
Come, clad in peace,
And I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I and the
Tree and the Rock were one.
Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your brow
And when you yet knew you still knew nothing.
The River sang and sings on.
There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing River and the wise Rock.
So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew
The African, the Native American, the Sioux
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek,
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheik,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the Tree.
They hear the first and last of every Tree
Speak to humankind today.
Come to me,
Here beside the River.
Plant yourself beside the River.
Each of you, descendant of some passed-
On traveler, has been paid for.
You, who gave me my first name, you,
Pawnee, Apache, Seneca, you
Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then
Forced on bloody feet,
Left me to the employment of
Other seekers -- desperate for gain,
Starving for gold.
You, the Turk, the Arab, the Swede,
The German, the Eskimo, the Scot,
The Italian, the Hungarian, the Pole,
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought
Sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.
Here, root yourselves beside me.
I am that Tree planted by the River,
Which will not be moved.
I, the Rock, I, the River, I, the Tree
I am yours -- your passages have been paid.
Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.
History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, but if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.
Lift up your eyes
Upon this day breaking for you.
Give birth again
To the dream.
Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands,
Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts
Each new hour holds new chances
For a new beginning.
Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space
To place new steps of change
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out and upon me,
The Rock, the River, the Tree, you country.
No less to Midas than the mendicant.
No less to you now than the mastodon then.
Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister's eyes,
And into your brother's face,
And say simply
With hope --
January 20, 1993