The world lost something special today. To me sometimes the losses just come. It is a natural part of life to see the latest scroll of another "celebrity's" death. I hate to say I am immune, but I am. Why does the media get to tell me who to mourn I wonder. But today as I was smack dab in the middle of teaching Maya Angelou's "Still I Rise" the scroll went across my Ipad screen. Maya Angelou Dead at 86. I stood quietly. I stood shocked. I stood. My students and I paralized for just a minute in time.
I spent twenty minutes telling them of Ms. Angelou's life and my connection to her and to this poem. I even made a little joke that we are facebook besties. But then I just admitted it was me a forever fangirl. Back to scroll. I admitted abruptly, "I am going to cry you guys. This is sad." And I felt that. And I did it.
I don't know if I have felt that way about any other death of a person that I don't really know, but who has changed me. Maya changed me.
Still I Rise has always been a poem that has moved me and I could relate to it. When I want to quit, I read it. So without further adieu.
And I Rise Too
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 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.