Dr. Maya Angelou: 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”.

Dr. Maya Angelou

Dr. Maya Angelou

Dr. Maya Angelou was a hero to so many people who resonated with her powerful story of gracefully surviving traumatic events that occurred in her life.

She drew strength from various stories of human victory to take back her power from those who tried to rob her of it, which led her to being a gifted author of more than 30 books, thought-provoking poet and an inspiration to countless men and women around the world.

A life-changing moment occured to Maya when at 7 years old, she was indecently assaulted by a male known to her family. On the night the rapist was released from prison, he was brutally killed and subsequently, the young Miss Angelou stopped talking for 5 years as she thought her voice led to that man’s murder.

However, in those 5 years, she read almost every book she could get her hands on in both the coloured and white libraries of her town. She also memorised a number of Shakespeare’s plays and various poems.

When Maya finally spoke again, she had a lot to say; personifying that out of what was intended for evil, came forth a blessing to the world through her poetry and encouraging stories of endurance.

This particular poem below by Dr. Angelou speaks strength to survivors of abuse, gender-based violence and sexual assault. I wish to share it as a memoir to those who have lost their lives due to domestic violence and an encouragement to countless others who are regaining their power after traumatic events:

>>> Listen to audio here <<<

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.

By Dr. Maya Angelou, 4 April, 1928 – 28 May 2014: American poet, author and civil rights activist.

If you are experiencing or know someone who is suffering from any type of abuse, I encourage you to speak up, report the matter to the police and expose the perpertrator so that others can be protected. You can call the helpline in your community, for Australia it is 1800RESPECT (1800 737 737).

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