Today a very legendary, beautiful, gifted, talented, inspirational, rare Poet has gone home. Dr. Maya Angelou died today at the age of 86. She was an inspiration to many like me who saw poetry as an exit. Like me she was an April baby, her birthday is 4 days before mine. One of her most famous works, “Still I rise” has gotten me through a lot of rough days tears inclusive. It always felt like she was writing my thoughts for me. When people say, poets aren’t really taken seriously, I always say, apparently you haven’t heard of Maya Angelou, getting taken seriously does not get better than that. With books like, “Phenomenal Woman”, “The Heart of a Woman”, and “I Shall Not be Moved”, she was that woman any strong woman would reference. She will be missed but through her work she lives. Sharing one of her most famous poems below.. Those words speak to me every time I read them. I live them, I breathe them, I am inspired by them..
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
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.