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 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.

~Maya Angelou

I had the pleasure of seeing Dr Angelou again. She is like everyone’s ideal grandmother – dispensing her wisdom through story and song and poem – through laughter and seriousness.  There is no lecture in the traditional sense.  You don’t feel like you can’t interact until she is done.  She embraces you like an old student who she loved and adored.  She looks into your eyes and asks a sincere “how ARE you?”  She doesn’t want to here “fine” – she wants to hear the stories. She wants to hear the laughter and dry your tears. 

That is what it is like to hear her – to be in an audience of 3000 people – as she sits her her chair and speaks – with her side table containing her books and a lamp and her kleenex box. 

And when she is done – she thanks everyone for what they have given her – giving them a large verbal hug – then tells us to go home.

I am blessed to get to see this 84-year old woman twice now. 

She is definitely a rainbow in the clouds.

(To explain that last statement: a rainbow signifies hope.  God gives us rainbows – according to Dr Angelou – to give us hope that the storm will pass – hope that the skies will be bright again – hope that the clouds and storm is temporary.  And the Rainbows: they are people who give you that hope – give you that spark – to become who you can become vs who you think you are.  The world is full of rainbows.)

What do you think?

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