A legacy of words

A legacy of words

It’s a loss for humanity when a woman whose words are as powerful as her story passes away.

But American author and poet Maya Angelou did not die without leaving behind a commendable legacy, including seven autobiographies, three books of essays and several books of poetry – each more hard-hitting than the other. 

As the world admires her works on identity, racism, freedom and the realities of her time, Raj Madnani pays her a tribute.


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
I rise
Up from a past that’s 
rooted in pain I rise

I’m a black ocean,
leaping and wide,
Welling and swellin
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.

-Maya Angelou


Yet You Rise Maya

History now has no lies
It has the courage to say
You are gone
Yet you rise
 
You did not break Maya
You lived to teach
You are gone
Yet you rise.
 
You danced in your pain
Your steps we will follow
You live
As you rise
 
Yes, and still you rise.

-Raj Madnani

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