Last week, one of the greatest Poet, Dr. Maya Angelou, passed on and it had me reaching for her works. Reading back on the many great words she’s shared with the world. Cataloging lessons learned in her life, and thought provoking poems that make us pause. She’s taught and inspired generations, changed perception and inspired courage with words, she shared her experiences through her poems, giving courage to many. Below is one of her most famous poems:
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 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
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I love this poem because it is a powerful affirmation, no matter what or whom you meet in life. Those things you or I are facing now, those terrible things, or wonderful things, those difficult or easy people you meet, if you believe in yourself and stand strong, you’ll rise. For these powerful words, I thank Dr. Maya Angelou for sharing them with us.
Poetry is one of the most inspiring forms of art there can be. A few words, arranged in stanzas can hold powerful messages that will inspire you, call up an emotion inside you that even you didn’t realize you had. Poets often describe a situation, a feeling, an experience in such a way that you have no choice but to agree, or disagree, or find an urge to discover if that description fits that moment.
On this note, this coming week, this blog of mine will feature some poems from a few of Kenya’s Poets. Most of whom have become musicians, changing our small world with their courageous words. I love music, and a good song is one that reaches the soul, so explore with me.