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
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.