With all the negatives cluttering up the atmosphere these days, I thought it would be nice to put out some positive vibes.  Here is one of my favorite poems as formatted for my students.

Glossary:
ablution – cleansing of the soul / abide – live / nobleness – purity of spirit
vowed – married / trod – step down on / sassy – naughty, teasing / offend – insult, make angry / welling, swelling – falling and rising of the sea surface

S T I L L   I   R I S E
1
Everyone in the world has gone to bed
one night or another
with fear, or pain, or loss,
or disappointment.

2
And yet each of us has awakened, arisen
Somehow made our ablution,
Seen other human beings and said;
” ‘Morning! How are you?”
“Fine thanks, and you?”
3
It’s amazing;
wherever there abides any human being,
there is the nobleness of the human spirit.
4
Despite it all,
Black and white,
Asian, Spanish, native American;
5
Pretty, plain; thin, fat;
Vowed or celibate –
We rise
6
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
7
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust – I’ll rise. 8
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
9
Just ’cause I walk as if I have oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
10
Just like suns and like moons,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high –
Still I rise.
11
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

12
Does my sassiness upset you?
Don’t take it so hard Just ’cause I laugh
As if I have gold mines
Digging in my own back yard.

13
You can shoot me with your words,
You can cut me with your lies,
You can kill me with your hatefulness,
But just like life – I rise.

14
Does my sexiness offend you?
Aw, does it come as a surprise
That I dance as if I had diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
15
Out of the huts of history’s shame –
I rise

16
Up from a past rooted in pain –
I rise

17
A black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling

I bear in the tide.
18
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear –
I rise

19
Into a daybreak miraculously clear –
I rise

20
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the hope and the dream of the slave.

21
And so, naturally – There I go rising.

America’s Renaissance Woman

“I was a mute from when I was seven and a half until I was almost 13. I didn’t speak. I had voice, but I refused to use it.”

As a child, Maya Angelou was traumatized by abuse. For five years, she was silent, but in time, she found her voice. That voice has been heard around the world. A single mother at age 16, she embarked on a remarkable career. She has been an actress and entertainer, a journalist, educator and civil rights activist. And finally, one of the world’s most eminent authors and poets.

Her autobiographical work, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, created an international sensation when it was first published in 1970. Since then, her books and poems have made her one of the world’s favorite authors and one of America’s best-loved public speakers.

MAYA’S BIOGRAPHY http://mayaangelou.com/bio/

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