I would like to share this beautiful poem with my readers and hope that you will be inspired by these wondrous words!

Still I Rise 

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 back yard.

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.

Maya Angelou


1 Response to “”

  1. 1 mekyam
    March 2, 2010 at 9:28 am

    [like kak teh, i too went and leave this comment at the wrong entry. so reposting it. hope it’s okay.]

    hi tin lim! hi kt!

    i too love maya’s poems. not just for the power of her messages and the richness of her imageries, but also because they are without exception always rhythmic. it takes a great deal of discipline, not to mention awesome creativity, to weave multi-layered ideas and pictures into a tight cohesive structure — using just the right words, having them dance to the appropriate metres and falling within just a certain number of lines.

    at this, i think maya stands apart among present day poets. reading any of her poems will find one mentally tapping a beat, if not physically getting up ando grooving. 😀

    guess you could tell i’m old school when it comes to poetry. most blank verses leaves me cold. esp when written by those who don’t realize that even blank-versing must obey prosodic rules. otherwise all verbose gooey prose can pass as poetry, ya tak? 😀

    i agree with you tin lim, though at surface level maya’s poems always address her african american heritage, often leaning to ‘femininism’ and/or ‘femme fatalism’, her message always resonates at many levels and to a universal audience.

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