Maya Angelou, the inspirational author, poet, playwright, actress, director, civil rights activist amongst many remarkable things, died today.
It is a sad day. This iconic woman spoke words that touched the heart. She had powerful and fierce wit and I cannot mention the number of her quotes that I have read that have inspired me and others before me.
When I was young, I remember reading one of her infamous poems and copying it down on some paper because I knew that it was something profound.
Having heard about her death today, those words came back to me and I had to share them with you, knowing full well you probably have read them before:
Still I Rise
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread 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.
She has been written about many times and I’m sure she will be written about by many today, remembering her for what an amazing woman she was. And so as much as I want to… I won’t go into detail about her illustrious life.
There are far too many quotes of hers that I love and I can’t share them all, so I’ll leave you with a few to ponder upon:
“We have to confront ourselves. Do we like what we see in the mirror? And, according to our light, according to our understanding, according to our courage, we will have to say yea or nay – and rise!”
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”
“We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.”
“It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.”
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