Friday, March 20, 2009

Borrowing from poets

There’s a poem, ‘Still I rise’ by Maya Angelou. I first read it in college, around the same time I read ‘Roots’ by Alex Haley. I read it the second time, when I was in my second job. Thereafter, I saw an interview of hers on Oprah, where she recited it. Every time, I come across this poem, I feel a sense of…I don’t know, a sense of pride and happiness, hope and conquest…a sense of self, I suppose.

On the way today, I stopped for a moment to watch the Metro work. Felt proud and happy, hopeful and victorious.

I think this poem suits Mumbai so well. Maybe Mumbai, at some levels, is very similar to a woman – wounded but unbowed.

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
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.

- Maya Angelou


Mumbai Diva said...

You write really well. I spent some time going over your older posts. Awesome. 'Lizzy', june 2005:) ,was hilarious

Anonymous said...

You write really well, very lucid yet simple to understand. Have u thought of writing short stories?

Ur blog has always provided me with a lot of entertainment and distraction from my daily life-something I needed in the past few months after my mother's death, a fact which I have still not come to terms with yet.

I remember you mention you love New York. Have you ever considered studying there in any of the colleges. This country is simply amazing in terms of doing whatever you want to do at any age and following your dreams.

Mukta said...

Hi diva,

:-) Thanks. But trust me, that lizard gave me hell!

Hi anon,

Thanks...yes, i want to write short stories...but i actually want to write one story - a BIG story...u know.

And I am very sorry about your mother's death. I really am.