The poet laureate and civil rights activist wrote the poem for the 2008 Summer Games.
Dr. Maya Angelou in 2009.
Gary Miller / FilmMagic
The world lost a lyrical giant on Wednesday with Maya Angelou's death at the age of 86.
While the poet, memoirist and civil rights activist was famous for penning "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" and the poem "On the Pulse of Morning" for the 1993 inauguration, Angelou also penned "Amazement Awaits," a poem commissioned by the US Olympic Committee in honor of the 2008 Beijing Summer Games.
"The Olympics Committee ask me to write a poem for the 2008 Olympics and I offer it again for the 2012 Olympians," Angelou wrote on her Facebook page during the London Games. "I commend you all, Americans and winners across the globe for what you do is win the human spirit and therefore we are all winners."
Here is Maya Angelou reciting her Olympic poem:
And here are the words to "Amazement Awaits" below:
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.