Still I Rise

The first book I ever purchased was “Poems” by Maya Angelou. I brought $10 to school that day because I had been looking forward to the book fair for weeks–I must have been in 5th grade. I circled the aisles and something drew me to this book with the teal cover and photo of a woman of color that resembled my grandmother. She looked sassy with her short volumized hair and red lipstick, gold jewelry. Her smile was gentle, but fierce.

I picked it up and flipped through the pages, reading a couple of the poems–I was captivated. I wanted to be as strong as she was; I wanted to grow up to be phenomenal and always rise. This poem reminds me that, even at a young age, we can trust what our bodies are telling us and connect what’s in our heart to our mind. That despite the distractions and darkness that blur our focus, we are always capable of rising. Again and again.

Still I Rise

Maya Angelou1928 – 2014

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s