Tuesday, May 25, 2010

And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

I absolutely adore Maya Angelou. Words can not describe how much so. I remember years ago watching an episode of Showtime at the Apollo-- a show that show cased up-and-coming artists. There was a little girl around my age (ten) at the time. She was performing what I recall at the time, this soul stirring poem. I sat there glued to the television; thirsting for me. Inside I was screaming..." I want to do that. I want to say that poem."

The problem was; I was painfully shy as a child. I had much to say, but very much afraid to say it aloud. Besides, who'd want to listen to me anyways? The mind is a funny thing is it not? To succeed or fail--it takes a made up mind.

I vividly recall something within me stirring to life. It was to be on television, with the hopes of my friends watching me, or to even become famous. It was those words, penetrating in my ten-year-old heart. "Still I Rise. Still I Rise." The little girl's performance was mesmerizing. Now, several years later, it is that, I've never forgotten, that little girl; nor this wonderful poem "Still I Rise", written by Maya Angelou. My mind was made up! I would one day perform this piece, and I did! Oh, the process was not easy, it took bumps in the road, and yep, you've guessed it! A made up mind. :)


Still I Rise
by Maya Angelou
"Still I Rise"
from AND STILL I RISE by Maya Angelou,
copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou.
Used by permission of Random House, Inc.

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 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 my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

© Maya Angelou, 1978.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I too was struck with awe at this little girl's delivery of "And Still I Rise" on Showtime at the Apollo. It captured my attention like nothing I'd witnessed in a long time - the way she recited the lines were so emotional and it was as if she transformed into someone else once that little girl opened her mouth and brought forth the words from this classic poem. I have been searching for an episode clip of the performance for years. I give up after awhile but am haunted to try again every so often. I was so happy to find your comments on the same performance. Have you ever been able to find the performance online anywhere? If so please give me the link! Thank you so much,
Sheila B.