We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.

Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.

We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Maya Angelou's poem Touched by An Angel


  1. Miranda says:

    Really nice poem… love to me is SO important! God is love, that’s more important than person-person love.

  2. DESTINY PETE says:


  3. Chinelo says:

    P’s poems like these that tell us what holds the planets in orbit.
    God bless you, Maya.

  4. Anna says:

    what a surprise!!I’m a student who looking for a poem for American literature oral presentation came across on it.The things which are really strange that I was hoping to learn something about the angel here but it’s turned out to be about love .It’s brilliant-I will take it!!!

  5. Afzal says:

    I love this poem. 🙂

  6. Karen says:

    Im glad that there are people like Maya Angelou that inspire us to continue in life showing us the beauty of things like love. This poem is awesome.

  7. mmm says:

    i liked this poem it was really nice. i have never read a poem about love that was as beautiful as this one. It is truely a masterpiece. i have just finished reading “I know why the caged bird sings” also by Maya Angelouy na di think that she is a truely admirable person that has experienced the hard ships of life as an African American woman andd i respect her very much.

  8. racquel says:

    this poem is beautiful and illustrates the power of love …..it also reminds me that you cant run from it ….you cant hide

  9. Mina Lubel says:

    I am 14. You are my role model. You always inspire me. I am made fun of. But your poems help me keep my head held high. thank you.

  10. Olivia says:

    Wow, this is one of the best love poems I’ve ever read! It describes love perfectly: It heals, it hurts, but in the end it sets us free.

  11. Aimée says:

    She didn`t mention ANGELS, but that doesn`t mean she it has not meaning. It is a wonderful poem

  12. Philippa Castle says:

    Dear Anthony
    I read your comments on the Maya Angelou poetry website regarding the poem ‘Touched By An Angel’ and I want to say that it really is OK to be sad – for a while, no one wants to be sad for a long time. Think about this though: If you were not given the gift of sadness to experience, how would you really understand and interpret the experience and feeling of happiness when the angel of happiness touched your life and brought with it all the love and joy or whatever it is that happiness means for you, to you? For me, the happiness I search for is the freedom to love and be loved. It involves great risk and great pain, but the rewards turn out again and again to be beyond my wildest expectations.
    May your spirit soar with the angels.

  13. Philippa Castle says:

    I just heard on KFM radio to Google you and read a poem of yours. Now they are playing – as I type – I saw an angel. You’re beautiful, it’s true! Did you notice the anagram? I live in love and synchronicity and I am permanently “Touched By An Angel”. I have felt the extremes of love, the pain, the bliss, the ecstacy – and this poem describes it beautifully. To me the existential paradox of life is to be afraid of love, when all there is, is love and fear!

  14. XIARIA says:


  15. Julie Fuentes says:

    This poem has become one of my favorite poems. It has so many meanings and interpretations. This poem tells me that love has hardships and it has good times, but it is what truly frees us from our surroundings. We have not experienced life until we have felt a deep love for someone. Love brings us happiness as we experience this wonderful sensation inside of us. Love can also make us sad. It hurts when we embrace this pain. Love costs all we are and will ever be. Love releases us from everything. Love is such a great emotion we have been given. This poem is great.

  16. artie archie says:

    I have done a report on you(Maya) and came across the poem TOUCHED BY BY AN ANGEL, I think it is a wonderful poem. You Rock Maya!

  17. Jewel Evans says:

    To think on this poem is sheer Beauty, it may not literally reference an Angel, but for me, the poem speaks of an Angel of Love. If we dare to let it in, it will heal our inner man, help us to forgive, and as Maya says, set us Free! Free to release the past, step into our future and become better individuals. A Touch from the Love Angel Can Transform any Human Being! It’s Contagious and we all desire to have some.(LOVE!) Well Said, Ms. Angelou

  18. Jewel Evans says:

    To think on this poem and what it means is sheer Beauty, there may not be a mention of an actual angel, but know that Love itself is an Angel, its pure, sweet, it is ecstasy, as Maya says, its pain and pleasure. The Angel of Love heals hearts,forgives and builds up, and it definately sets you Free! Much Love, Maya!

  19. Halle-i ain't berry says:

    this poem is sweet but sort of weird . becuase it says,touched by an angel but it says nothing about angels.

  20. Jackie says:

    That peom to me is sad and if your family member died it would make you sad to. How ’bout anyone from around.

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