Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise

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And Still I Rise

Still I Rise by Maya Angelou (1925)

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.

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16 thoughts on “Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise

  1. Great poem Angela!!

    Therefore, – again, and more than ever before: resist in truth what is wrong, and persist in truth what is good whilst protecting live as worthy as possible. We may have fallen with our feet trodden beneath the dust, but we shall rise up again. Reminding ourselves that our lives depend on the labour of others and that we have to give in the same measure as we received, taking things day by day and step by step, – knowing that endurance is more powerful than ferocity. Knowing as well that then there is a place and time for the fullness of real gratitude, and that amidst the corners of history’s shame we shall overcome one day, – as the wall’s of hatred and prejudice have been broken then and mercy will prevail.

  2. Ms. Angelou’s courage and wisdom have forever changed my soul. These lines give me chills…although I am sure my personal pain pales in comparison, I can relate as a woman and a child abuse survivor. Thank you for a jolt of lovely, today!

    “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.”

  3. Remembering a Woman with a capital “W”. She lived her life, against all odds, the way she saw fit. She has no equal. I salute her.

    Caged Bird
    BY MAYA ANGELOU

    A free bird leaps
    on the back of the wind
    and floats downstream
    till the current ends
    and dips his wing
    in the orange sun rays
    and dares to claim the sky.

    But a bird that stalks
    down his narrow cage
    can seldom see through
    his bars of rage
    his wings are clipped and
    his feet are tied
    so he opens his throat to sing.

    The caged bird sings
    with a fearful trill
    of things unknown
    but longed for still
    and his tune is heard
    on the distant hill
    for the caged bird
    sings of freedom.

    The free bird thinks of another breeze
    and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
    and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn
    and he names the sky his own

    But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
    his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
    his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
    so he opens his throat to sing.

    The caged bird sings
    with a fearful trill
    of things unknown
    but longed for still
    and his tune is heard
    on the distant hill
    for the caged bird
    sings of freedom.

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