So I had a plan to write about the black poets and writers who inspired me to write poetry and short stories, since it is Black History month. Clearly, I am late because it is only one full week left in February. So as they say “better late than never”. Today I will share with you all one of the first poems that I read that inspired me to want to be like this author. It made me want to pick up a pencil and start writing. Even after all these years since I first read her writing I am still in awe of her talents. I got the chance to see her in person in my undergrad when she came to speak and I was 7 rows from the stage and it just made me love her even more. That is a memory that will be etched in my brain forever because I never thought that I would ever get a chance to see and hear her speak in person. I love her work and she still inspires me, even though she has passed away. May her soul rest in peace!
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
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.
– Maya Angelou