Still I rise

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I remember growing up, this was one of my favorite poems. Some refer to it as a civil rights poem but I think it’s more than that. Have you ever been held down by circumstances? Have you ever felt like everything and everyone is trying to stop you from shining through, trying to stop you from being what God intended you to be? At the very moment they think they have finally crushed you, at the moment they think you’ve finally lost heart, at the moment when they believe your faith is all gone. Hurt and weak, broken and stomped on with your destiny staring you in the face, daring you to get up and continue, encouraging to rise again. That’s what this poem is to me, no matter what I’ve faced, no matter what I’m going through, when it all seems unbearable and impossible…still I rise. I rise to the challenge of all those who says God has left me, I rise to the criticisms of folks who want to keep me down, I rise to be all I can be for you Jesus. You rose for me so that I can rise for you and nobody else. God bless and enjoy. 

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.

Maya Angelou, “Still I Rise” from And Still I Rise. Copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou. Used by permission of Random House, Inc.

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