And Still I Rise

Being raped at the age of 8 did not stop her from rising.  Although the man who raped her (her mother’s boyfriend) only served a day in jail for his crime, still she rose.  Even though she felt guilty for telling her family about what happened and that the man was found dead the day after his release from jail, still she would rise.  While she became mute for five years out of shame, fearing that it was her spoken words that led to this man’s death, that’s right; she still rose and nothing could stop her.
Jogging home from the gym yesterday, I was listening to a writer’s podcast on which Brene Brown was being interviewed.  She told about when she was on Oprah and after the recording was over, Oprah turned to her and said, “Maya Angelou is in the green room, would you like to meet her?”  Little did Oprah know, that Brene used Maya’s poem, I Shall Not Be Moved at the end of the semester for her classes.  When she went in the back and met Angelou and told her how much she admired her, Angelou took her hand and recited in song a few lines from the poem: “Like a tree planted by the waters, I shall not be moved.”  When I heard this, I got goosebumps.
Naturally, I had to look the poem up and not only read it, but hear Angelou reciting it herself in her amazing musical voice.  Sitting and listening to her recitations of I Shall Not Be Moved and And Still I Rise with tears starting to well up in my eyes, I pondered what I should write about for this week’s e-blast.  I looked up at my book shelf across the room and saw it there through the salty warmth that both blurred and magnified my vision: a small yellow book of poetry sticking out because of its color, entitled And Still I Rise.
 
Enjoy this recitation of the breath-taking poem that only one who had been stepped on and pushed down could have conceived.  As you listen to the power and depth of Maya’s voice and the magic of her words, remember that we all rise.  People may try to create you in their own image.  Their perceptions may try to paint you in a certain way.  They may may hate and despise you for who you are.  You may be too sexy, happy, beautiful, amazing, caring, loving, or wise for their own good.  But remember, no matter how hard they may step or with however much force they push, there is a place inside that cannot be broken, “and so naturally, there [we] go rising.”
More on rising at Easter . . . .
 
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2 Responses to “And Still I Rise”

  1. Jon shima Says:

    Wow! That was beautiful. Thank you for sharing it with us!

  2. John Lovestrand Says:

    So powerful and inspirational and reassuring.

    This past summer I finally read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and was enthralled.

    I have not yet ready Maya’s poetry but I will soon.

    I first became aware of her when she delivered her poem at the inauguration of President Clinton.

    Oh how she made this a better world by her grace and dignity, by her strength and perseverance, by having risen time and again.

    Thank you. JL

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