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Celebrations: Rituals of Peace and Prayer Hardcover – October 24, 2006


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Celebrations: Rituals of Peace and Prayer + The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou + I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; First Edition edition (October 24, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400066107
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400066100
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #340,854 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

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.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

A BRAVE AND STARTLING TRUTH

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
suns
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
clean
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
ceased
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
Europe
Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji
Stretching to the Rising Sun
Neither Father Amazon nor Mother
Mississippi
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
peace
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
planet

Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That, in a twinkling, life is sapped from the
living
Yet those same hands can touch with such
healing,
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
divines
When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating
body
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.

More About the Author

Maya Angelou has been waitress, singer, actress, dancer, activist, filmmaker, writer and mother. As well as her autobiography she has written several volumes of poetry, including 'On the Pulse of the Morning' for the inauguration of President Clinton. She now has a life-time appointment as Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 14 customer reviews
A Pillar in life for our times...gracious, lovely and witty..
Cynthia L. Delamare
I read all I can get my hands on in whatever medium she puts out there.
sedpj
I highly recommend this book of prayers to all Maya Angelou's fans.
Trudy L. Nowak

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By sedpj on December 17, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This poet, author, is deep. I read all I can get my hands on in whatever medium she puts out there.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michael on November 10, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Found it to be inspirational and hopefully. I love everything Maya Angelo does, she's a true treasure. Her words make me believe I can go anywhere and do anything. Can't wait to read more of her works!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Trudy L. Nowak on February 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is another example of the heart in Maya Angelou. Another "beautiful" set of her work. I highly recommend this book of prayers to all Maya Angelou's fans. A Must have for your collection...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David F. Daniels on March 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
book arrived on time
book priced very competitively
Book arrived in the condition as advertised
Book used for gift and was read and enjoyed previously
Maya Angelou is an exceptionally wonderful author
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia L. Delamare on April 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
A Pillar in life for our times...gracious, lovely and witty..
She always makes you think and see a little clearer.
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By Vandella on July 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover
In memory of her passing, Celebrations: Ritual of Peace and Prayer is a tribute to her own strides and achievements. This collection of poems is Angelou in great form—eloquent, diverse, mind blowing, and strutting. These are poetic words of peace at some of the most trying times in Angelou’s life and ours. On the Pulse of the Morning is re-strengthening as she is remembered as the first African-American Poet Laureate in the U.S. This poem alone revives a sense of what we all must do to respect our earth and creator. And, she suggests starting by just saying “good morning.” There are eleven other poems written for advice and peaceful means—poems for a United Nation, for a woman’s continuance, for death and resurrection of purpose, for her children, for mother’s day, and a Jewish tradition, great singers like Luther Vandross and Barry White, and a prayer for us all. This is a collectable volume, because it contains works in which single books have been developed. Upon reading, relax, read aloud, hum, mediate, and enjoy these lasting words of Maya Angelou.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Major on June 22, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I purchased this CD after having been honored to see her in person this past spring. I knew that I wanted something with her voice on it, unabridged, reading from her own collection. When I saw that there was a choice that spoke of her spiritual world, I was eager and excited! This CD goes into the magical place where she creates, heals and releases her powerful talents and blessings. Get this CD for your kids, your friends, your neighbors... they will be healed, enlightened and empowered.
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