Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I sat mesmerized as I listened to Maya Angelou

Maya Anglou

This past year I was fortunate enough to see Maya Angelou in person as she shared the wisdom of her words, encouraging this local community to be the best it could be.

I drank in her stature as she walked across the stage, her head held high, her deep voice resonating through the auditorium. Her smile, spellbinding. I willed that I would always be able to hold this memory and recall this feeling as I listened to her story-telling style as she wove a tapestry from her youth through the span of her life and brought us back to that evening where she shared many of her own adversities, including having been raped at a young age. I sat spellbound for the time she spoke, mesmerized by her poise, grace, inner beauty, peace, confidence and strength.

As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse - this poem of hers was difficult for me to read or listen to for a variety of reasons...including her brash boldness as she owned...and flaunted... her sexuality.

As I read this poem, I can hear her throaty voice in my mind speaking these words, her head held high as she spoke calmly, her confidence visible in her presence, her tone and her carriage.

And lately these words have been resonating in my mind - so today I share with you a poem that I was fortunate to hear her recite that autumn evening as I sat quietly, attentively, hungrily leaning in to catch every morsel of her wisdom, one among hundreds in awe and respect...

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
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.

Read her poem "phenomenal woman" here on this Squidoo page.

Visit Maya Angelou's website here.

Q: Is there someone who has inspired you in your journey to wellness?



MyThought said...

I didn't have any inspiration until I opened my blog and started reading other blogs.
Your blog inspires me and gives me the feeling that I can do it.
Every time I read a post of yours I literally feel the hope growing inside me.
Thanks for that

Susan said...

Inspiration is a wonderful thing, isn't it? It's like being a kid in a candy store - which idea to play with first?

Thank you for sharing that with me, MT:) I truly appreciate that you are finding something here that causes the light to shine for you!

Anonymous said...

Susan, Your blog has opened many doors of self exploration and wellness. I am most grateful and deeply inspired by your words and wisdom. As painful as it is to suffer, i feel it is a blessing to have the experiences and rise above learning that I do have choices. Thanks for giving me hope and inspiration!

Susan said...

Mel - I am honored that you would choose to travel this path and include me in your journey today...thank you for such kind and wonderful words!

"As painful as it is to suffer, i feel it is a blessing to have the experiences and rise above learning that I do have choices."

Precisely! And beautifully said!