Friday, May 30

A Tribte to Maya Angelou

This week, the world said goodbye to a literary icon. Maya Angelou. She was an author, a poet, and actress. When she was younger she was a calypso singer. To me, she was pure inspiration. The kind of woman I strive to be. Confident, sophisticated, sassy, and wise. If you're on facebook, you've probably seen lots of statuses containing her quotes. What I remember most is her poem, Still I Rise. I recited it several times in high school and learned it by heart. My oldest daughter did too. And so here, as my tribute to her, 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.

To hear the words from Ms. Angelou, here's the link.


  1. It was such a loss, but we've all been enriched at one time or another--well, actually many times and others--by her words. Thanks for sharing, Shawn.

    1. You're welcome, Liz. She was a big inspiration to me. A woman full of grace.

  2. Beautiful post, Shawn! I love that poem. She was an amazing woman and human being.

    1. Thanks, Margie. This was always one of my favorites.