I’m so heartbroken that the wonderful, gracious Maya Angelou passed away today. She’s always been my literary idol, hero, and anchor. I read through the I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in a mere few days – hour spent so wrapped up in her story that I cried, laughed, and felt my heart break through the pages. Reading her books and poems is like being in a dream that feels so incredibly real.
Maya Angelou is one of the bravest, strongest women in history. She made leaps and bounds in the progress of civil rights and societal status of African-American women, but did the same justices for all African-Americans and all women in general. Such a talented writer, poet, and human being with a unique, brave soul. I’m so sad to let her go that I had to write this post – at least do something – to honor her.
I posted below one of my favorite of her poems – one that emulates the strength, resilience and courage she showed throughout her lifetime. She’s a survivor, a teacher, a healer, an artist, and a woman who will be remembered for her spirit & works for the rest of time.
Still I Rise
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.
Rest in Paradise, Maya Angelou. We’ll miss you.