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.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Maya Angelou's poem Still I Rise


  1. Karl Dean says:

    This poem is very interesting and very confusing. What dose it mean how dose it mean? only she will know.

  2. bianca jones-edelen says:

    i like this poem because i can re-late to it. this poem is life like.

  3. shanicia Hughes says:

    OMG Maya i bow down to you because some many people can relate to this poem, and you are by farthe most WONDERFUL poet i have ever heard of. you really do give inspiring words and I appreciate all of them

    may GOD bless you, and again

  4. Alexis Dalton says:

    I really like that poem I can relate. I have some people who don’t like me they can say stuff to me and about me as you said I will rise.

  5. Alexis Dalton says:

    I really like that poem I can relate. I have some people who don’t like me they can say stuff to me and about me as you said I will rise.

  6. Connie Davis says:

    One of my teen students,(bible/Sunday school) read this poem and immediately knew she had to recite it doing the Black History Program at my church.The meaning is clear. Keep pushing for your beliefs and never give up. Thanks Web and Mrs. Angelou

  7. tray says:

    this is a great poem for all ages

  8. Adriana says:

    This is the best poem I’ve ever read in my life.
    Favorite line:
    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?

  9. Humaira Masood says:

    this a a truely inspirational poem.a universal poem that tells us to move on with our life and live it fully according to our own desires and wishes no matter how much one is discouraged.we should have a firm belief on our own abilities.set a goal and go on to get it ,noone can stop you from gettin it.

  10. varlina says:

    maya bi loved your poem right when i read the first line!you are the best poet eeeeeeeeeevvvvvvveeeeeeeerrrrrrrr!

  11. joanna brown says:

    i love ur poem so much i wish i can meet with u someday i admired u every since i was six years old now i’m sixteen and i promise u this poem made me relize no matter how much people talk about me still i rise i love ur poetry so much i really hope 2 meet with u aka sincerly Lady (kisses)

  12. THOMAS B. says:

    This is a Great poem, i read it when Im feeling down ,it reminds me things always get better .

  13. Marie Kellam says:

    “Still I Rise” is a very straightforward poem. This poem reminds me of all the jealousy and hatred that I have encountered during my lifetime from so-called friends and also family members! But still God let me rise!

  14. kk says:

    ms.maya angelou,you are the best poet in my book. because if i could i would sit & read your poems all day long, you were (& still are)my insperationto become a poet and i am also really good @ it.but i just
    wanted to let you know what you have done & been to me & i just wanted to tell you (thanks)ant that you are now and always will be aq phenomenal women and you have always rised above. thank you very much!

  15. Imani Overton says:

    Ms.Angelou you are my inspiration truely, I love reading your poems and in fact I am going to read my favorite poem “I rise” at my forensics meet next year and dedicate it to you:)

  16. Sierra says:

    Mya Angelou your poems are so inspiritional .Just by what you say helps people to rise.I hope you continue rising and helping other people rise you are so special u are like an angel except an invisble one who help people rise in good times and bad just by looking at u and and listening to your true words is the greatest.U rise Mya Angelou rise rise rise

  17. chunkee says:

    I really love this poem it’s so enlightining, inspirational and influentual,i really get the message that she portrying to her audience no matter what she went through in her life after it all still she rises above and beyond the rest.

  18. cristie says:

    this was a beautiful poem!

  19. Joi Stepney says:

    Maya Angelo’s poem still I rise is truely and inspiration for all african americans in todays society.We as a people must over come all obstacales and strive for the best that there is. We must rise above the sterotypes of america, and prosper as Angelo has by taking the storms of the world by force. We must laugh in the faces of negative people and say, “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 rise”

  20. Samantha says:

    wow that was an amazing poem. It gave me goosebumps!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Do you have any comments, criticism, paraphrasis or analysis of this poem that you feel would assist other visitors in understanding the meaning or the theme of this poem by Maya Angelou better? If accepted, your analysis will be added to this page of American Poems. Together we can build a wealth of information, but it will take some discipline and determination.