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.

HOPE RISES

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.]

AP

***
SORROW INSIDE

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.

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remembering outside

Pinterest

I get my best ideas in a thunderstorm. I have the power and majesty of nature on my side. -Ralph Steadman

“We often forget that we are nature. Nature is not something separate from us. So when we say that we have lost our connection to nature, we’ve lost our connection to ourselves.”
― Andy Goldsworthy

The Horizon Leans
by Maya Angelou

The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me, the
Rock, the River, the Tree, your country.

No less to Midas than the mendicant.
No less to you now than the mastodon then.

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister’s eyes, into
Your brother’s face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.

There are some weeks where we bring in a prompt everyone writes to it. We say earth and write earth. We say school and write school. We say motherhood, parenthood, and write about kids and memories and caregiving. But there are other weeks when we offer prompts and writers can’t help but address their state of mind, that there is something serious they need to talk about and no prompt is going to reign that in.

In the space below, you will read the accounts of three writers remembering the time before their incarceration – relationship with others, with nature, and with themselves and all each are mutually transformed through contact with one another. These are the stories they needed to tell. Please hear them and the voices they came to the table with.

FOREVER CHANGING

Forever changing.
Forever changing, we all flow
Day one to 12 thousand.
Never staying the same.
Starting small evolve and grow.
Everything is always changing
from where I stand.
The moon affects everything,
including my ever changing moods.
I lay down.
I’ve found thunderstorms are soothing –
An ancient lullaby we’d forgotten,
The rain splashing against the earth,
replenishing what’s been lost.
I stand there, in the thunder and rain
Everything comes with a cost
Please wash away this pain
When will the clouds open?
Why won’t this storm stop?
How long must this song go on?
What was once soothing?
Now has been overdone.
When will the sunshine come?
The water is getting deep.
I’m in over my head, I try to swim to shore.
I only slam to the floor,
fell off my bed.
Scared and alone, I’ve become impermeable.
I look out the window to reassure my fears,
the sunrise is beautiful.
No need for tears.

DB

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rising together

black and white portrait maya angelou

credit – quoteswaves.com

Maya Angelou was a force in literature, poetry, and culture. She embodied and expressed a shared sense of empowerment, lending her strength and words to help others rise out of struggle toward a greater sense of belonging and self-acceptance. In honor of her passing, we brought her poem Still I Rise inside to share with the women and to foster discussion on the impact of her writing and her life.

What followed was powerful. We shared what we knew about her, her quotes, favorite lines, what change she wrought. Most often, women would motion to their hearts and say things like, “She inspired me,” or “She was so strong.” Sometimes the power of a poem is not direct, its impact unclear. When we write, we may even suffer doubt that poems matter or do any healing work in this world. That was not the case here; not her work, not this poem.

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