Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Still, I Rise a poem, by Maya Angelou

 Still, I Rise
Maya Angelou

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.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


You have got to love the WayBack Machine, the website that taps into internet archives and pulls up old -- and I do mean, OLD -- pages.

March 19, 2003

My country went to war today. A deadline passed, a stand-off persisted, and then came the rockets.

If I had to sum up how I feel, I'd call it sadness. I'm so, so sad. I'm sad it's come to this. I'm sad that my feelings of overwhelming cynicism made me believe that it always would come to this. And I'm sad that so many people will not be satisfied, will not have had enough, until blood is spilled and people are dead.

When I was a child, I used to think that if we could just find a way to get out of Viet Nam, we would live in peace. After all, hadn't we learned our lesson about war? Now, nearly thirty years later, here we are again, sending troops to fight for something that vaguely resembles liberty. Something that's been dressed up in noble cloth and made to look like a noble cause. But try as I might, I can't see the Emperor's clothes. I have a sneaking suspicion that the Emperor is, in fact, naked.

My country went to war today. I pray that things will happen quickly, with a minimum of bloodshed and casualty, and then we'll bring our soldiers home in one piece. And maybe this time, we'll have learned our lesson.

The right lesson.

The part of all of this is that kills me is that, once again, I thought I was being a little hyperbolic for emphasis, and, once again, my prediction has come true. We now know we will not leave Iraq soon, if ever. And we're tied up in Afghanistan for even longer. This will be a 20 year war, I fear, and that's just the way most folks want it.

Here we sit, seven and a half years later, having learned absolutely nothing. And I still feel sad. And I still feel like crying. Now more than ever.