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(4 April 1928)

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Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread 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.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003
Edited: Monday, August 19, 2013

Read poems about / on: history, dance, ocean, dream, fear, hope, pain, rose, spring

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  • Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (4/17/2014 9:38:00 AM)

    A good and motivated poem for existensialism and lot of creativity and energy it makes for good purpose and in that sense it is a very good poem.

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Yogiraj Biplab (4/10/2014 2:25:00 AM)

    i like it. Very moving. I really like ur writing skills.

  • Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (4/6/2014 2:13:00 AM)

    A good poem in which lot of confidence, courage and enthusiasm lies and also positive factors of life going to happen irrespective of adversity.

  • Akhtar Jawad (4/2/2014 1:32:00 AM)

    From a well wisher of Pervez Musharraf to cheaters of justice.

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  • Mariam Daoud (3/21/2014 10:30:00 AM)

    I look down and I see how many people Maya Angelou inspired through these words and I think, she inspired me too.

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  • Lauren Rosina (2/26/2014 9:05:00 AM)

    This poem has all the strength and courage of a bull. It's confidant and brave and speak's to anybody who has been bullied or belitteled, and anybody who has ever felt like they are being held back by what people expect. Those who read it who have spirit and confident's buried in side them will let those amotions out and stand up for themselves.

  • Nikolai Morskoi (2/1/2014 9:20:00 PM)

    This poem was already within all of us before we even read. We all possess a human will that overcome all sorts of hardship...

  • Paula Harris (1/30/2014 3:51:00 PM)

    I read this magnificent battle cry of a poem at a group meeting for survivors of domestic violence some years ago; it remains for me something of a 'dawn chorus' whenever my strength wavers - reminding me I'm still rising. Mad props to Maya *salutes*

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