Poet, writer, performer, teacher, and director Maya Angelou was raised in Stamps, Arkansas, and then moved to San Francisco. In addition to her bestselling autobiographies, beginning with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, she has also written a cookbook, Hallelujah! The Welcome Table; five poetry collections, including I Shall Not Be Moved and Shaker, Why Don’t You Sing?; and the celebrated poems “On the Pulse of Morning,” which she read at the inauguration of President William Jefferson Clinton, and “Amazing Peace,” which she read at the lighting of the National Christmas Tree in Washington, D.C., in December 2005.
During those early dearest days
I did not dream that you had
A large life which included me,
For I had a life which was only you.
The way you posed your head
So that the light could caress your face
When you put your fingers on my hand
And your hand on my arm,
I was struck with a sense of health,
Of strength and very good fortune.
Excerpted from Mother by Maya Angelou. Copyright © 2006 by Maya Angelou. Excerpted by permission of Random House, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
About Maya Angelou
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.