Still I Rise: Hope for Readers

still i rise
This week the book club at My Refuge House, Hope or Readers, focused on one of my favorite poems: Still I Rise by Maya Angelou.

They once again met outside on blankets in the shade, with their coffee in tea cups and snacks. I was not present, because I like to give them time to discuss the works on their own and not worry about translating into English for me. However I could hear them reading from my office on the second level, for every now and then I would hear them all shout “Still I Rise” in unison as they read through the poem.

These girls have risen above more than many people can ever imagine. I cannot think of a group of girls more qualified to read this poem with passion and voices raised. They rise above court hearings against step fathers, cross examinations from lawyers, triggers from past trauma, and so much more. They are amazing young women who have overcome adversity and they thank God daily for rescuing them!

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 backyard.

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.

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