We Convince By Our Presence
In the spirit of April being National Poetry Month, I've decided to enter a brief essay every day on one of my favorite poems in the hopes that I'll be able to share some beautiful, important pieces of art with the people who are beautiful and important to me.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Maya Angelou - Still I Rise
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 backyard.
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.
Maya Angelou's Still I Rise
Without fail, each time I read this poem and reach the final “I rise,” I'm compelled to hit the world head-on with every ounce of fight I've got. One of language's many complicated powers is its ability to act as a catalyst for change. We could easily say that a poem is just a bunch...