Still I Rise



Marguerite Johnson was born in a segregated area of St. Louis, Arkansas in 1928 and died on May 28, 2014. After her parent’s divorce, she and her brother Bailey were sent to go live with their grandmother. Marguerite and Bailey had a close relationship as children and Bailey was the person that gave her the name of “Maya”. On a visit to her mother’s, Angelou was raped at age seven by her mother’s boyfriend. Angelou was very ashamed about this event and did not want to talk about it. One day her mother’s brother found out and he went and killed the man who raped Angelou. At age 22, she married Tosh Angelou, though marriage did not last but a couple of years. To support herself, she had to get jobs as a waitress, cook, and a night club singer. Later on in her life, she started reading work by William Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, and Paul Lawrence Dunbar, and she became interested in writing, so she moved to New York and joined Harlem Writers Guild. Angelou has written many poems that she has won many awards for.

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.

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.

Maya Angelou

A Pesar De Todo Me Levanto

Podrás inscribirme en la historia
Con tus mentiras amargas y retorcidas,
Podrás arrastrarme en la basura misma
Y a pesar de todo, como el polvo, me levantaré.

¿Te desconcierta mi insolencia?
¿Por qué te acosa la melancolía?
Porque camino como si tuviese pozos de petróleo
Bombeando en mi sala de estar.

Igual que las lunas y los soles,
Con la certeza de las mareas,
Igual que las esperanzas que alto vuelan
A pesar de todo me levantaré.

¿Querías verme destruida?
¿Con la cabeza inclinada y los ojos cerrados?
Los hombros caídos como lágrimas.
Debilitada por mis gritos conmovedores.

¿Te ofende mi arrogancia?
No lo tomes tan a mal
Porque me río como si tuviera minas de oro
Cavándose en el patio de atrás.

Puedes dispararme las palabras,
Puedes cortarme con los ojos,
Puedes matarme con tu odio,
Y a pesar de todo, como el aire, me levantaré.

¿Te desconcierta mi sensualidad?
¿Te resulta una novedad
Que baile como si tuviera diamantes
En el medio de mis muslos?

Desde los cobertizos de una vergüenza histórica
Me levanto
De un pasado enraizado en el dolor
Me levanto
Soy un océano negro, impetuoso y extenso,
Fluyendo y embraveciendo soporto la marea.
Dejando atrás noches de espanto y miedo
Me levanto
En un nuevo día asombrosamente claro
Me levanto
Con los talentos que mis ancestros dieron,
Yo soy el sueño y la esperanza del esclavo.
Me levanto.
Me levanto
Me levanto.

Maya Angelou


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