And Still I Rise

Tonight I was invited by Literature for Life, the charity I work with and am so passionate about, to see the lovely and ever inspiring Dr. Maya Angelou speak.  I have long been a fan of Angelou’s, as is most the world I hope.  It is a wonder to me that as I was raving about going this evening, some people had no idea who she is… even to suggest that is was Oprah who made her famous (not naming any names…).  In a world so caught up in celebrity happenings and glamorous events, sometimes I think we can all lose sight of icons in our midst, or inspirations that walk among us.  It is sad really.  I’m not saying I am any better, trust me, I spend more time on Mashable than you can begin to imagine, but every now and then I read up on the real people I aspire to be like.

Maya Angelou
“Live to be a rainbow in somebody’s cloud”

Poet, civil rights activist, dancer, film producer, television producer, playwright, film director, author, actress, professor… google her, I’m not going to tell you everything.  I will however, leave you with my favourite of her poems, and the one she finished off the lecture with:

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.

Sometimes… shut off your television, log off of tweetdeck, and turn on Ted Talks for some inspiration. Sit with your mother and talk about life. Sit with your father and talk about life. Sit with your grandparents and talk about life. Smile at someone you don’t know in the morning. Say hello to the mailman. Then crack open a copy of “The Prophet” by Kahil Gibran. Read some exceptional work by Maya Angelou, Edgar Allan Poe, Mari Evans, Shakespeare, Margaret Atwood, Leonard Cohen, Langston Hughes, Robert Frost (and go from there).

Sorry that was my fuzzy, fluffy, feel good post for the night. From my heart to yours.

Literature for Life

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