Poetry Sunday: Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

This poem rattled around in my head all last week. I think it was all those pictures of lines of people around the country waiting patiently, or impatiently, but waiting to vote. Millions of them. More than nine million in Texas alone. Nothing is more hopeful than the sight of people exercising their constitutional right to select their leaders. That's not exactly what Maya Angelou was talking about in this poem; she was referencing the history of Black people and racism in this country. But the words seem to fit our current situation as a nation. Decency and honor have been trodden into the dirt over the past four years, but they still exist. And now it is time for them to rise and assert themselves.  

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...

Still I Rise

by Maya Angelou

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.

Comments

  1. I love Maya Angelou's poetry!! And I enjoy Still I Rise... It's been sometime since I've read this poem. :-)

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    1. It's one of my favorites. The words work on so many levels.

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  2. It is a propos indeed, Dorothy. The world is now waiting for the demise of Donald Trump and this aberrant period in American history. I hope that on Tuesday we are raising a glass to Joe Biden, and remembering Maya Angelou too. Surely these cannot be enough misguided, duped, credulous fools to elect Trump again.



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    1. The problem as always will be our antiquated Electoral College system of selecting a president. I'm confident that he will not get a majority of votes, even as he did not in the last election, but we can't be entirely sure about how many and which states will vote for him and that may prove problematic.

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  3. Perfect poem for the times. Knowing Angelou was mute for five years after being raped as a child (after the rapist was found dead) the power of this poem is off the charts.

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    1. It just speaks to my soul on so many levels and always leaves me feeling stronger and hopeful

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  4. A great poem to wake up to this morning. We slept away our extra hour but still we rose!

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    Replies
    1. Good one, Judy! I enjoyed that extra hour of sleep before I arose.

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  5. Love all of your postings! Thank you so very much for today's posting for "such a time as this!"

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Shirley. I always appreciate hearing from you.

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