Apr 19, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Dear Oprah,
On the day of your birth
The Creator filled countless storehouses
With rich ointments,
Luscious tapestries,
Jewels worthy of a queen’s dowry
And antique coins of incredible value
They were set aside for your use
And yours alone
Without knowing of your wealth
Armed with faith and hope
You broke through dense walls
Of poverty
And loosed the chains of ignorance
To walk a free woman
Into a world which needed you
My wish for you
Is that you continue
To be who and how you are

To astonish a mean world
With your acts of kindness
To let humor lighten the burden
Of a tender heart
In a society known for cruelty
To let the people hear the grandeur
Of God in the peals of your laughter
To let your eloquence
Elevate the people to heights
They had only imagined
To remind the people that
Each is as good as the other
And that no one is beneath
Nor above you
To remember your own young years
And look with favor upon the lost
And the least and the lonely
To put the mantel of your protection
Around the bodies of
The young and defenseless
To take the hand of the despised
And diseased and walk proudly
In the high street
Some might see you and
Be encouraged to do likewise
To plant a kiss of concern
On the cheek of the sick
And the aged and infirm
And count that action as
Natural and to be expected
To let gratitude be the pillow
Upon which you kneel to
Say your nightly prayer
And let faith be the bridge
You build to overcome evil
And welcome good
To spare no vision
Which comes to enlarge your range
And increase your spirit

To dare to love deeply
And risk everything
For the good thing
To float
In the sea of infinite substance
Which set aside riches for you
Before you had a name
And by doing so
You and your work
Will be able to continue
Happy Birthday!
I Love You Girl.
Dr. Maya Angelou is an educator, historian, best-selling author, actress, playwright, civil rights activist, producer and director. She wrote this poem in celebration of Oprah Winfrey’s 50th birthday. Dr. Angelou is only the second poet in U.S. history to write and recite original work at a presidential inauguration. She has authored 12 best-selling books, including “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”