And Still I Rise

Maya Angelou

There are many words of inspiration, empathy and beauty.  A short sentence or a life story.  A mantra.

I collect words like sea shells or rare coins.  To savour, contemplate and treasure.

They help me to feel stronger, convince myself I can do it.  Others before me have and I, too, hold that power within me.

The following poem is by Maya Angelou.  Though it makes direct reference to her ethnicity, I found the elements referring to her sexuality and womanhood to be quite moving.  And pertinant to my thoughts on SlutWalk.  Such power in this poem.  Sassiness and confidence. Since I discovered it, the line “And still, like air, I rise” echoes in my mind and fortifies me.  I gratefully add these words to my precious collection.


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 tear drops.

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.



This text found here