Monday, October 10, 2005

Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

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 a slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

This poem, in my opinion, is absolutely beautiful. It is the quintessential idea of a "rose that grew from concrete" as a Tupac Shakur had put it. It is beautiful because of the peacefulness embodied in the tone of this poem despite the oppression that is constantly bearing down on the speaker. She does not get angry, she does not get vengeful. She simply has this ocean of peace within her that no matter what people try to do to her, no matter how they attempt to keep her down, still she will rise. In the turn the other cheek fashion, Angelou uses vivid language to paint the picture that no matter what people do to bring her down, she has her own private wealth, or happiness, metaphorically, her own oil wells pumping in her living room, gold mines in her back yard, diamonds at the meeting of her thighs. She is beautiful, happy, and proud despite others trying to put her down, and her spirit will not be broken, just like moons and like suns, just like hopes springing high, still she will rise.


Blogger MValentine said...

I really enjoyed this poem while reading it. I like how the post relates this poem to more modern influences such as Tupac, and by doing this it shows the poem does not relate just to Maya Angelou. I think that this poem is powerful in the way that she presents it. She shows how that depite all that is around her set there to bring her down she is a strong woman and will not let that happen. I do however disagree with the post in saying that there is a peaceful sense to this poem because I found it more taunting because of the questions, but the taunting does not have a negitive tone to it sine she is standing up to someone. It is like she is the smaller kid standing up to a bully telling them that she will rise. The poem is full of strength and pride not just in herself but in her culture and the history of her culture. She openly states over and over that she is proud reinforcing the idea and making it stronger and stronger ever time. Despite the taunting tone and images of strength the poem is not hostile it only speaks of her reactions to adversity.

2:37 PM  

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