Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Poetry Month

Still I Rise
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 I 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.

I love Maya's reading of this poem every bit as much as I love the poem.

3 thing(s) to say:

amy said...

Even reading these words, I *hear* them in her voice - was it at President Clinton's first inauguration? - and get chills. That is the real power of poetry!

Cat. said...

Hmm, hadn't thought about the inauguration...

Nope: On the Pulse of Morning.

I'm listening to a book on CD right now in which the reader keeps getting the emphasis in the text wrong. It's so annoying. Spoken word is important. Even more so in poetry!!

amy said...

Maybe it was at one of the presidential balls - or maybe I'm just melding things in my mind. It's pleasant, anyway, so I'm keeping it.

Ooh, that would be a deal-breaker for me, I think. I'm not a big fan of readers, though.

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