Still I Rise

For today’s blog I wanted to share a poem, I tapped ‘poems on resilience’ into google for some inspiration, and immediately my eyes were drawn to an incredible piece that I’d been introduced to back when I was working in the not-for-profit sector.

We had been pulling together resources to inspire women who had come through domestic abuse and trafficking, and my boss at the time said ‘I’ve always loved Dr Maya Angelou’. I’d never heard of her before and went off to have a read.

There are few moments when you can remember clearly how you were introduced to an artist. I can remember the day I first listened to Maya Angelou like it was yesterday. I was absolutely blown away.

‘Still I rise’ is such a beautiful description of resilience. And I felt it to be particularly pertinent to share today given the widespread and highly necessary discussion on race that is taking place in the world.

And so, if you are yet to watch her perform this epic poem, take a look here.

And for the readers out there:

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. 

Maya Angelou

With love, compassion, equality and resilience, Hannah and Team Bird

Photo by David Becker on Unsplash

1 Comment
  • Crystyn Lyndel
    Posted at 13:22h, 08 June

    Oh how I love this powerful piece & the inspiration wise woman who penned it ❤️

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