I didn’t mind reading as a kid and I have never lost the love I have for the written word. Despite that, there were a lot of non-captivating books on the required reading list when I was in school. ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings‘ was not one of them and I have devoured all of Dr. Maya Angelou’s books and writings since. The woman was a warrior bard her entire life, an inspiration who crossed all barriers of race, gender and spirit, and while she deserves a bit of rest, I am sad to see her go.
I have tried to live my life with as much empathy, fearlessness and ferocity as she did. I should be so lucky to write anything that touches someone like Still I Rise touched me. Today, still she does rise, remaining a bright and shining beacon of all that is worth writing down.
Still I Rise by Maya Angelou
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread 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.