Sometimes you come across something that makes you think "wow" - the written word can have that effect. I had that feeling recently upon reading a poem by Maya Angelou, "Still I rise". Maya is one of life's great figures - from humble and traumatic beginnings which included being raped as a child to working in the sex industry to support her family, she has become one of the world's greatest authors.
The poem captures to perfection, many of the traits of what being resilient is all about.
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 take it awfully 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
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.
I hope you found it as moving as I did. I would love to hear your views and recommendations for your favourite poems. Please email me at info@XtraClarity.