On the Pulse of Morning

By Angelou, Maya | National Catholic Reporter, January 29, 1993 | Go to article overview

On the Pulse of Morning


Angelou, Maya, National Catholic Reporter


A Rock, A River, A Tree Hosts to species long since departed, Marked the mastodon, The dinosaur, who left dry 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 more 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 Face down in ignorance. Your mouths spilling words Armed for slaughter. The Rock cries out today, you may stand upon me, But do not hide your face.

Across the wall of the world, A River sings a beautiful song, 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 stone were one. Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your Brow and when you yet knew you still Knew nothing. The River sings 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 and Native American, the Sioux, The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh, The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher, The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher. They hear. They all hear The speaking of the Tree.

Today, the first and last of every Tree Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the River. …

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