It is with respect and awe that I post the first stanza of this poem by Amercian poet, Maya Angelou, found on the poets.org website:
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.
She had many hurdles to overcome in her life, and yet she overcame them all to become a successful poet, playwright, director, historian, and civil rights activist, to name several but not all of her many accomplishments.
Her use of the word “dust” signifies that all people are made from the same stuff and are mortal. However, the word “rise” presents the theme of immortality. Angelou’s works now have a life of their own and her words seem to echo, free from any constraints.
These two lines in the last stanza of the poem allude to a heritage of struggle and oppression, as well as her creative gifts which led to her success:
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
Her words are inspiring when we consider our own challenges, whether they be physical, emotional, circumstantial, or otherwise.
During my life, I have known many people who struggle in many ways and I find myself struggling at times, too. Yet in the difficulties, there are many joys to be found. To see myself in others and other in me has often kept me going when life is difficult. We all participate in the great struggle of life together. There is comfort in camaraderie. And as humans struggling together we can help each other find beautiful moments.
Here is a poem I wrote with these things in mind:
When the mountains are luminescent
And the sun is ricocheting off the flat-
Where a family lives
Across the pasture
And their cows are lowing
And the old rusty swather is warming up
In the late October reprieve
To bring in the autumn hay
I feel like it is going to be okay
Like I can do this
For another day
Thank you, Maya.