15 for 15 challenge- Still I rise

  May’s come to an end already?! The month literally flew past me in a dizzying blur. In the last two weeks, I haven’t been able to update my blog. It wasn’t writers block, the ideas were there but lethargy was my constant mode.

  I’ve loved poetry for as long as I can remember, I was a pretty decent poet in my teens. It isn’t hard to see why I adore Maya Angelou, that woman made me proud in so many ways, proud to be female, proud to string words in the beautiful music of poetry and proud of my black skin. She overcame several challenges before she became the icon the world knew, from extreme poverty to unplanned pregnancy to several run ins with the law. Perhaps that’s why her most famous poem resonates with people around the world. When you read the words, you feel the power in them that can only come from a first hand experience of the gruesome bits of life.

I’m putting up this poem because it seems fitting for present day Nigeria, as we’ve entered a new political dispensation,  we will always continue to rise higher than the circumstances of nationhood, higher than corruption, higher than Boko Haram, higher than unemployment, higher, higher, higher.

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.



  1. Amazing Bubba… Amaziiinnnggg…. Truly we will rise and rise alone… You see ehnn.. I had to go grab a cup of coffee.. cause ehn.. **Wears cheeky smile… i just knew this post was gonna be ghen ghen like that.. Its an amazing post Otunne.. and it reminds me of how ironically ba, it is from pain that the best of inspiration comess.. I mean check the Maya Angelous, Duru Adolphus’ hehehehehehe (na play oh) the Mandelas, the Fela’s… (My mother beRRa not hear that i mentioned Fela oh, she wihh just hang me to the fan **cleans sweat.. hehehe) it is through times of oppression, depression and suppression that they have churned out one of history’s best (okay i need to remove my name oh! i never churn out Nada 🙂 ).. This was such an Apt post.. One to bookmark for those nights when anguish settles in **Scrolls up to check date… May 31… i shall not forget…

    I love your entries of the challenge.. they are totally unique and full of inspiration.. Keep doing you Otunne.. cause ehn.. **adjusts Shokoto.. A wanna be like thee when i grow up oh! and i mean am.. **Winks.. Your level of wisdom makes me feel like a total IgnoraMUS.. (notice the MUS in caps ba?! Yeeeppp) Cheers..


    1. Duru! You churn out great stuff consistently. You bring laughter to us every monday. I’m sorry that I haven’t been commenting regularly, I read all your posts and Mariam’s too. Your blog is a big ray of sunshine, and very soon we’ll be telling people “I knew Duru back when” and they’ll think we’re famzing


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