Today Janeane’s World is celebrating Women’s History Month by sharing a poem from the great Maya Angelou entitled, “Still I Rise.” written in 1978. This poem is powerful, strong and resilient. Like many of Angelou’s poems, it tells the story of a woman who refuses to be downtrodden, broken an in despair. Quite to the contrary, the woman in this poem speaks of her ascent, her riches, and hope that abounds. She cries, but she rises. She recognizes her inner power, her sex appeal, her power to rise. Beyond all that, she knows that no matter where she came, she is rising and going to the stars dreamed of generations before.
You may write me down in history
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
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.