“Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou


 

“Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou (1928 – 2014)

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 backyard.

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.

“The Gift to Sing” by James Weldon Johnson (1871 – 1938)


Sometimes the mist overhangs my path,
And blackening clouds about me cling;
But, oh, I have a magic way
To turn the gloom to cheerful day—
I softly sing.

And if the way grows darker still,
Shadowed by Sorrow’s somber wing,
With glad defiance in my throat,
I pierce the darkness with a note,
And sing, and sing.

I brood not over the broken past,
Nor dread whatever time may bring;
No nights are dark, no days are long,
While in my heart there swells a song,
And I can sing.

“An Evening Thought: Salvation by Christ, with Penetential Cries” by Jupiter Hammon


Jupiter Hammon

Salvation comes by Jesus Christ alone,

    The only Son of God;
Redemption now to every one,
    That love his holy Word.
Dear Jesus we would fly to Thee,
    And leave off every Sin,
Thy Tender Mercy well agree;
    Salvation from our King.

“An Address to Miss Phillis Wheatley” by Jupiter Hammon


Jupiter Hammon

I.

O come you pious youth! adore

    The wisdom of thy God,
In bringing thee from distant shore,
    To learn His holy word.
                                                                  Eccles. xii.
II.
Though mightst been left behind
    Amidst a dark abode;
God’s tender mercy still combined,
    Thou hast the holy word.
                                                                  Psal. cxxv. 2, 3.

“I had no time to hate, because” by Emily Dickinson (December 10th, 1830 – May 15th, 1886 / Amherst / Massachusetts)


Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson (Photo credit: Amherst College Archives)

I had no time to hate, because

The grave would hinder me,

And life was not so ample I
Could finish enmity.Nor had I time to love, but since
Some industry must be,
The little toil of love, I thought,
Was large enough for me.