Joe Biden inauguration: Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman's rousing remarks

US President Joe Biden's inauguration was a ceremony of star-power, with Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez performing, But the stand-out delivery came from a 22-year-old National Youth Poet Laureate.

On the steps of the Capitol Building on Wednesday (local time), Amanda Gorman raised a single question: "When day comes, we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade?"

Her powerful self-penned work titled "The Hill We Climb" rang out across the crowd, with the 22-year-old making it difficult to believe she is the youngest-ever poet to perform at a presidential inauguration.

"We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president only to find herself reciting for one," she told the crowd.

The National Youth Poet Laureate had been struggling to finish the inaugural poem until the day rioters stormed the Capitol on January 6. Inspired, she stayed awake late into the night to complete it.

"We've seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it. That would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy, and this effort very nearly succeeded."

Amanda Gorman.
Amanda Gorman. Photo credit: Getty Images

There was meaning not only hidden in Gorman's words, but in what she wore.

A ring in the shape of a 'caged bird' was gifted by Oprah, a tribute to poet and writer Maya Angelou who read at former US President Bill Clinton's inauguration.

The five-minute performance captured the world's attention, with Hillary Clinton quick to suggest Gorman run for President, Oprah saying she'd never been prouder, and former President Barack Obama describing the poem as one that "more than met the moment".

"When the day comes we step out of the shade aflame and unafraid, the new dawn blooms as we free it, for there is always light if only we're brave enough to see it, if only we're brave enough to be it."

A day and a ceremony filled with hope, and a 22-year-old Californian poet who conveyed it with every word.