Still I Rise

In honour of Maya Angelou – 04/04/1928.


You may say my name with your mocking scoffs,

You may laugh at me till you cry,

You may beat me with your hating eyes,

But still like dust I’ll rise.

You may feed the world your bitter lies,

Bring me down if you like,

You may throw at me your hateful smiles

But just like wind I’ll fly.

You may choke me with your expectation,

Broken dreams, I’m full of sighs.

You may make me cry, till I cry blood,

But just like jewels I’ll shine.

You may strangle me with the saddest thoughts,

See the anger in my eyes,

Your heart full of sin and wicked hate.

You are toxic, but I won’t die.

You may kiss me with your Judas lips,

My rider till I die.

You would kill me if you could,

so that so soon I would expire.

You may love to see me uninspired and unable to express what’s on my mind.

Former crowd pleaser, it took me a while to learn to be happy with myself.

I once was sad for the sake of your opinion but now I’ve learned to sing the song of my very heart’s desire and now I’ve learned to dream.

Out of my own failures and history of shame, I rise.

Up from a past rooted in pain, I rise.

High expectations in a morally low society, I rise.

Out of the deepest shame of my own failures, I rise.

Forgiving myself for my mistakes and yours, I will continue to rise.

I am the hope and the dream of a slave,

A slave to this society’s degrading landscape.

I rise.

From the shackles of self-struggle and self-improvement, I can only shine.

I am seeing that with every celebration comes a little darkened night before the dawn.

So I will pray for the morning to come so I can have joy, that I may look you in the eyes and succeed.

With the certainty of moons and the sureness of the ocean’s tides, like the rivers blue, I will crash against more waves and shores and even still I’ll rise.

One day not too long from now, success will be my pride and so because I wake up doing what I love I thank God and pray that a little more each day I’ll rise.


Poet: Tirivashe Jele

Previous work by Tirivashe here:

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Twitter: @ourblackchronic 


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