Saturday, April 3, 2010

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.

Still I Rise - Maya Angelou

I think about this poem every Easter. It is about a slave but it works on so many different levels. Christ’s persecution and resurrection, slavery and the fight for civil rights, discrimination and continuing fight for equality. Really anyone who has been knocked down but continues to get back up. Proud. Defiant.

Twice in my life I have been seriously knocked down. Once by a group of men. Once by a church. Each time I got back up and found a new path to walk. And I am proud of that. Yes, and a little defiant also. Although I didn’t get up alone. I had many people who helped me up and kept me propped up for as long as it took for me to stand alone again. And they continue to spot me. I am forever grateful.

I would love to hear how you have risen, if you feel like sharing. . .

We are enjoying picture perfect weather in the northeast and tomorrow I will be at the beach to watch the sun rise.

Enjoy your weekend. If you are able, help someone rise.


  1. You already know my story since you pulled me up.

    Have a great weekend. Say hi to your mom for me.

  2. You know my story well enough too.

    I'm planning on reaching out to someone that just might help them rise.

    Ever since you commented that you'd be in my neck of the woods, I have had you on the brain. I had a dream last night that we were on the phone and I was telling you about a dream I had about you the night before. Isn't that so odd? I don't remember the dream (the one in the dream) at all, just that I was very animated when talking to you.

    Please do look out for Brutus, she'll be in queens today and LI tomorrow. muah!

  3. Beautiful. The poem, Maya Angelou, and especially, you.

    Yes, I've been knocked down. Yes, I got back up again. I continue to do so. One of my mom's best friends reminded me that "living well is the best revenge" and I took that to heart. I have a very good life, and I created it by myself. I am proud of that.

    On Saturday I co-taught a self defense class. We had 20 women and teens. It was a fantastic class. Sometimes though, I still find my emotions welling up and feeling like they might overwhelm me. I guess this road is longer than I thought and I'm still working my way along it.

    Happy Easter! Happy rebirth to a better life.

  4. Greg - I didn't spot Brutus, although I'm sure someday I will meet you, maybe in a dream. (that made me smile : )

    e - you have much to be proud of! And yes, living well is the best revenge.

    ren - my mom sends her love