still i rise

Moonlit Inspirations – blogger

Keep your face to the sunshine
and you cannot see a shadow. – Helen Keller

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.

This week we read Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise.” It continues to be a powerful poem within our writing circle. Every time we read it, the power of the writing increases. We all get  bolder. That is the power of great poetry. In a single page, one listening, we are all just a little stronger than we were before. You will see in the pieces below.


In me, rises hope, happiness, and peace – to live long, laugh often, and love strong.

That what gives me the power to rise is Jesus, God, and Holy Spirit, my older daughter, granddaughter as well as music of any kind that moves my heart, soul, and body to point I cannot be brought down by anyone or anything.

We all have the power inside us to rise, we just have to tap into it.

[side note: Life is a herd of purple tunafish running through a field of green grass Naked.]



Sweet, fallen angel,
just like me, a fallen angel with no wings.
We live in a pain that cuts and burns deeper than
the cracks of Hades.
I thought together we would rise
from a past rooted in pain,
just like moons and suns.
Who cares if we’re fallen?
As long as we had each other
nothing seemed to matter.
With your bitter, twisted lies,
did you want to leave me broken?
Clawing out my eyes,
waterfalls of blood streaking down my face
like never-ending tears,
I fall to my knees to let out a scream,
but there is nothing left to feel.
Silence is all I hear,
so I stitch my lips up.
Now when I see you through these veils of blindness,
you cut me with those eyes,
kill me with your hatefulness.
As if it matters, there’s nothing left to me—
A soulless, empty zombie,
I’m nothing but a black ocean,
leaving behind nights of terrors and fears
buried within myself,
protected with an armor shield against you.
I’m a ghost!
Nothing, but a memory.



Did you want to see me broken?

I know you did, don’t like. You hoped your lies would be believable, that no one would catch you out. You planned to stand, place your hand on the Bible and swear and all the while lie, trying to break me, trying to drive me down into the dirt like a sledgehammer to a post. You thought the lies you told so often you began to believe them would shatter my heart, somehow make my suffering worse.

Surprise, surprise, surprise.

I view you, stranger to me, liar, and I see you’re no better than you should be. You wear the twist of lies in your face, as if they taste bitter. Or are you bitter that you can’t break me, that your lies won’t convince anyone I should be drawn and quartered, that everyone can see you for the malicious attention-seeking, self-centered, boorish brat you really are?

Does it hurt your tender feelings that you won’t be allowed to lie without a response? Oh yes, I know your kind. Your grandmother was one. That should scare you, to know that you’re just like a violently homicidal paranoid schizophrenic compulsive liar who couldn’t cope with anyone calling her on her lies. More, you should be scared – that bitch couldn’t break me when I was a tiny little girl. You sure as hell can’t now.




With your bitter, twisted lies
you anger raged in front of our eyes
but still like dust, I rise
with your bitter, twisted lies,
the heartache pained throughout our lives
for every night is always cried
but still like dust, I rise

but in the end the segregation was
complete because of your bitter twisted lies.
Our love was no more with no more cries
but like dust, I will always rise.



My power to rise lies in my son’s eyes,
his “I love you’s” and sweet laughter.
My power to rise begins everyday when my
feet hit cold cement, and I face bars
and barbed wire.
My power to rise comes from every single
“You can’t” and all of the uniforms I despise.
My power to rise has made me stronger
than I even thought I could be.
My power to rise, well, you can’t take
that from me.
My power to rise is the light at the
end of the tunnel that seems never
My power to rise is mine.



I rise to be a better me, a better mother, and a better wife.
I rise because for my family, I want a better life.

I rise to the sun, the stars, and the moon.
I rise because I need to get back home soon.

I rise to become a more educated person.
I rise because my past has been very broken.

I rise so my heat won’t hurt anymore.
I rise because I just want so much more.

I rise to show my children that they can succeed.
I rise because there’s more in life I need.

I rise because my brain is too heavy to hold.
I rise to become soo much more bold.

I rise so my eyes will longer cry.
I will continue to rise until they day I die.



My face is pointed high, but not because of what you might think. My nose is only in the air so my eyes can see the clouds. So light, so airy, when I look down, I’m not going to lie but to me it’s scary. When I keep my head in the clouds, it’s easy to dream. I left behind two little girls that were too young to see. Everything I did was wrong. I was supposed to be on their team. My story is the same as every other drug addict.

Lies don’t pay the rent, secrets don’t fill little bellies, and bedtime stories don’t fit into needles. But today I strive. It’s only some nights I might accidentally cry. When you keep your head to the skies. It makes it easier to rise. I can’t look back. I can’t look down.



The only way to go now is up.
I’m all crumbled and frail
like a phoenix I burned, fell hard
and now I’m ashy and stale.
Old news to most, I’m sure my rise
will just be another tall tale.
I was sick of being sick
and my face gaunt and pale.
Whomever is sweeping me up.
Keep the ashes in a pile.
Once I’m ready to rise, believe
I’ll come up in style.
When I’m ready to fly believe
I will sail. I’m ready to fly. Believe
I will sail, I will. Soar deep into the clouds.
How high is too high? Now I must go down…
will I crash and burn?
Maybe I like the feeling; will I ever learn?
Down into the ashes.
The only way to go now is up…


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