Poetry Sunday: Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

I have featured this poem here before. In fact, I have featured it more than once, but it is a favorite of mine and so here it is again! Enjoy. 

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.


  1. I love this poem, too, the emotion, the descriptions, and how this flows. FYI: I went to a webinar yesterday on storytelling and one of the presenters talked about Phillis Wheatly, an enslaved woman of the 18th century who was kidnapped from Africa and brought to Boston. Her enslaver taught her to read and write and educated her along with her own daughter. She had a difficult life but she wrote poetry that was admired both here and in England - she was only the third colonial woman, I understand, to be published, and her enslaver helped her to get a publisher. A complex story for sure. I need to investigate her more.

    1. I have read a little about Wheatley before. She led a very interesting, though tragically short, life. I should try to feature some of her poetry here at some point. Thanks for reminding me of her!

  2. This is one of my all-time favorites. I used parts of it for Poem-in-My-Pocket Day, and it was a popular selection for the sixth graders.

    1. Your sixth graders showed much discernment and taste!

  3. This is a favorite poem of mine, too! :D

  4. It conjures up so many images, Dorothy. You can repeat this poem as often as you wish. Sorry to be late coming to the party this weekend, but we spent our time in Algonquin Provincial Park, out of touch. It was wonderful!

    1. Oh, now I am jealous! What a wonderful way to spend the weekend!

  5. I love this poem too!! Maya Angelou is one of my favorite poets. I had the lovely honor to hear her speak live twice and what fabulous experience that was! She'd sing, dance, recite her poetry, and tell the most wonderful stories.

    1. Oh, I do envy you having seen her perform in person!


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