Maya Angelou

(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)

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: Thursday, August 07, 2014

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  • Richard Provencher (8/24/2014 8:45:00 PM)

    I really enjoyed the way her voice read, like a silent tornado that swept quietly across the land. Then hesitating from too much force, simply wanting to be recognized. A very powerful resonance in the mystery of our own emotions. (Report) Reply

  • Sarojkanta Dash (6/22/2014 12:51:00 AM)

    The poem contains loads of pressing history. It is not as personal as it seems to be on the surface. It goes beyond that. I am the dream and the hope of the slave. refers to that. It is about rising from the dust. There is resistance and protest in Angelou's own style. It is about ushering in a shift in exercising agency. (Report) Reply

  • Sarojkanta Dash (6/22/2014 12:47:00 AM)

    The poem contains loads of pressing history. It is not as personal as it seems to be on the surface. It goes beyond that. I am the dream and the hope of the slave. refers to that. It is about rising from the dust. There is resistance and protest in Angelou's own style. It is about ushering in a shift in exercising agency. (Report) Reply

  • * Sunprincess * (6/5/2014 11:48:00 PM)

    ..............exceptionally well written.....awesome rhythm and flow....questions in the right place....with answers.....this is the perfect poetry example for any new poet.... (Report) Reply

  • Hebert Logerie Sr. (6/3/2014 11:46:00 PM)

    Encore Je Me Lèverai
    (Poème « Still I Rise » écrit par Maya Angelou, traduit par Hebert Logerie)

    Vous pouvez écrire dans les pages de l'histoire
    Des mensonges amers, et tordus;
    Vous pouvez me piétiner dans la boue nue,
    Encore je me lèverai, comme la poussière noire.

    Est-ce que mon impertinence vous dérange?
    Pourquoi êtes-vous plongé dans une tristesse étrange?
    Est-ce parce que je marche, comme si j'ai un puits de kérosène,
    Qui pompe des millions de gallons dans mon salon d’ébène.

    Tout comme des lunes et des soleils,
    Avec la certitude des marées,
    Tout comme l'espoir qui jaillit jusqu’au ciel,
    Encore je me lèverai.

    Voulez-vous me voir brisée, ruinée,
    La tête baissée et les yeux abaissés,
    Les épaules tombées, comme des larmes laconiques.
    Et affaiblies par mes cris mélancoliques?

    Est-ce que mon orgueil vous expose?
    Ne trouvez-vous pas que ces choses soient affreuses?
    Parce que je ris, comme si j'ai des mines d'or
    Enfouies dans ma propre arrière-cour.

    Avec vos mots, vous pouvez m’assassiner,
    Avec vos yeux, vous pouvez me décapiter;
    Avec votre haine, vous pouvez me tuer,
    Mais encore, comme l’air, je me lèverai.

    Est-ce que mon charme sexuel vous dérange?
    Pour vous, c’est comme une surprise,
    Que je danse comme si j'ai des diamants de Suisse,
    Dans le triangle de mes cuisses?

    Sur les huttes de la honte de l'histoire
    Je me lèverai
    D’un passé enraciné dans une douleur noire
    Je me lèverai.
    Je suis un vaste océan noir qui peut sauter,
    S’enfler et se dégonfler. Je porte dans la marée,
    Laissant derrière des nuits de terreur
    Et de peur.
    Je me lèverai,
    A l’aube d’un jour qui est clairement merveilleux.
    Je me lèverai,
    En t’offrant des cadeaux légués de mes Aïeux,
    Je suis le rêve et l'espoir de l'esclave,
    Je suis l’enfant des Braves.
    Je me lèverai
    Je me lèverai
    Je me lèverai.
    « Still I rise » écrit par Maya Angelou, traduit par Hébert Logerie
    Poemhunter.com
    (P.S. Dr. Maya Angelou, I thank you for all the gifts that you left behind. To honor you, I translated your beautiful poem “Still I Rise” in French. Thank you for the poems, the memories and the Love. Hébert Logerie) (Report) Reply

  • Tim Kitchin (5/29/2014 7:09:00 PM)

    The 'still I'll rise' is where the poem draws in energy from, for me, plus the accumulation of the extreme, earthy, industrial images, plumbing natural wealth...into a tidal wave that crests, and keeps cresting. Lovely. (Report) Reply

  • Mazhari David (5/26/2014 8:43:00 AM)

    I feel more deeply touched and concerned by any of Chinaski's poem... a question of subjectivity...* * (Report) Reply

  • Devory Charach (5/18/2014 10:39:00 PM)

    I love this poem
    and I fell it can really relate to my life where people are constantly jealous and so put down someone else because of it (Report) Reply

  • Joseph Sanchez (4/28/2014 11:34:00 AM)

    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. (Report) Reply

Read all 561 comments »

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