Mother, A Cradle To Hold Me

By Maya Angelou
May 8, 2023

Mother, A Cradle To Hold Me

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It is true

I was created in you.

It is also true

That you were created for me.

I owned your voice.

It was shaped and tuned to soothe me.

Your arms were molded

Into a cradle to hold me, to rock me.

The scent of your body was the air

Perfumed for me to breathe.



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.


Time passed steadily and drew us apart.

I was unwilling.

I feared if I let you go

You would leave me eternally.

You smiled at my fears, saying

I could not stay in your lap forever.


That one day you would have to stand

And where would I be?

You smiled again.

I did not.

Without warning you left me,

But you returned immediately.

You left again and returned,

I admit, quickly,

But relief did not rest with me easily.

You left again, but again returned.

You left again, but again returned.

Each time you reentered my world

You brought assurance.

Slowly I gained confidence.


You thought you know me,

But I did know you,

You thought you were watching me,

But I did hold you securely in my sight,

Recording every moment,

Memorizing your smiles, tracing your frowns.

In your absence

I rehearsed you,

The way you had of singing

On a breeze,

While a sob lay

At the root of your song.


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 blessed with a sense of health,

Of strength and very good fortune.


You were always

the heart of happiness to me,

Bringing nougats of glee,

Sweets of open laughter.


During the years when you knew nothing

And I knew everything, I loved you still.

Condescendingly of course,

From my high perch

Of teenage wisdom.

I grew older and

Was stunned to find

How much knowledge you had gleaned.

And so quickly.


Mother, I have learned enough now

To know I have learned nearly nothing.

On this day


When mothers are being honored,

Let me thank you

That my selfishness, ignorance, and mockery

Did not bring you to

Discard me like a broken doll

Which had lost its favor.

I thank you that

You still find something in me

To cherish, to admire and to love.


I thank you, Mother.

I love you.

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