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. Rama Subramanian says:

    i’ve been teaching this poem to the senior classes for the past four years. Each time i find myself loving it more and more. It inspires one and makes one believe that anything is possible as long as one has the strong will and determination of a MAYA ANGELOU.

  2. Dario says:

    * Constrictive clothing, shoes, or appliances
    * Sex is for younger people.
    Substantial evidence indicates that cocaine use causes accelerated coronary atherosclerosis. According to a 1995 study of trauma fatalities among men with a mean age of 34 years and an incidental finding of cocaine metabolites, 25% had lesions in 2 or more vessels, and 19% had disease in 3-4 vessels. Of the control subjects, only 6% had 2-vessel disease, and none had 3- or 4-vessel disease. In another study of 22 long-term cocaine users with a mean age of 32 years, all of whom died suddenly with detectable serum cocaine levels, severe narrowing of more than 75% cross-sectional area was found in 1 or more coronary arteries in 36% of patients.7
    Psychological causes: There are a number of possible psychological causes. Fear and anxiety can cause a lack of confidence and result in impotence. Stress over work, relationships and pressure to perform are becoming increasingly common in men. Depression and bereavement are also potential causes.
    Sexual arousal

  3. ofentse habana says:


  4. frieda says:

    for a person breaking free from a self inflicked slavery n finding myself it is food for my soul


    “I am the dream and the hope of the slave”
    “I rise”
    “I rise”
    Thank you Madam Angelou for this great poem that mean so much to all of us. Although we might have been slaves for many years sometimes our own thoughts and choices we make are still enslaving us till today.

  6. Brandi says:

    I just wanted to say that this poem is very good, I always get an unreal feeling when I read her poetry. She is an inspiration to me and as I can see, a lot of others too. Shooooootz haha:)

  7. Exquisite says:

    Well, I guess in Maya’s eyes you have to do what you got to do to get where you want to be , and don’t be ashamed along the way.

  8. v.frenche says:

    This poem should be apply to our daily lives to rise each and every time, to the occassions of life it is hard at time,but we have those who have walked before us like Maya Angelo and that alone is one of the many inspiration.

  9. Christina says:

    I think that still i rise is very inspiring to young black people. She’s a black lady who was very feminist, she believes in female rights.

  10. seli says:

    this poem is so, oh i dont know, it encourges me. it makes me feel like we can do anything XD no matter what gets in your, for a female. anyways i love this poem just so little words and its says a whole LOT!

  11. Felicia says:

    This poem is really really good.LOVE IT!!

  12. Andrea says:

    I like how she, instead of making it specific to her life, used broad simple words to enable any and everyone who reads the poem to apply it to their own lives. Although she has faced many adversities as an African American growing up and it radiates in the works she does, you do not have to be an African American to relate to it.
    I also like the fact that she has sort of a defiant tone in this poem. She uses naturally negative words like “sassiness” and “haughtiness”, and owns them to become positive characteristics. Then she aims rhetorical questions towards the “you” of the poem in almost a comical way, suggesting that they are almost offended and upset because they don’t have those characteristics; as if they are jealous almost.
    There is a lot going on in this poem, I can talk for days. It is really empowering and uplifting towards all women everywhere and it instill hope for our future.

  13. micah battles says:

    i love this poam it reflects to true african american black power. It makes me feel like i can be stronger than i am!! i just want to say thanx to maya angelou!! yours truely,seamone

  14. latonia littlejohn says:

    I love the world out of this poem, because it reminds me of my own life because people are just obstacles in my way but…STILL I WILL RISE!!!!!

  15. Isabelle says:

    i am doing this poem for my english GCSE and i am so glad that it is in my anthology because i think that it is beautiful and i find it amazing how she can say so much, so powerfully in so little words

  16. Cheyenne Singleton says:

    i think that poem is teaches people to rise when they try and put you down. i learned that poem and still keep it in me. that poem is an inspiration to me and im a young person. it tells us that just because our ancestors went through certain things we don’t have to go through it we should learn from it then use what we know from their mistakes and overulation to get through life.

  17. Cayla says:

    Although this poem is about the struggle of Afro-Americans, this poem can also be applied to the simply down-trodded, the people who feel beaten down – people of all ethnicities.

  18. Jim Crow says:

    9VAeZu The Jim Crow rules for the public bus system in Montgomery almost defy belief today. Black customers had to enter the bus at the front door, pay the fare, exit the front door and climb aboard again at the rear door. Even though the majority of bus passengers were black, the front four rows of seats were always reserved for white customers. Bennett wrote: “It was a common sight in those days to see Black men and women standing in silence and silent fury over the four empty seats reserved for whites.” Behind these seats was a middle section that blacks could use only if there was no white demand. However, if so much as one white customer needed a seat in this “no- man’s land,” all the blacks in that section had to move. Bennett concluded: “This was, as you can see, pure madness, and it caused no end of trouble and hard feeling.” In fact, Parks herself was once thrown off a bus for refusing to endure the charade of entry by the back door. In the year preceding Parks’s fateful ride, three other black women had been arrested for refusing to give their seats to white men. Still the system was firmly entrenched, and Parks would often walk to her home to spare herself the humiliation of the bus.

  19. Roden,Conny,White,Echo,TUTE,Tiajin,0402,group2 says:

    From this powerful and meaningful poem, we can be overwhelmed with the strength of the Afro-Americans, fighting for the prosperity of their nation. Although they’ve suffered so much, and been discriminated for centuries, they never gave up hope. They have endless passion and power to fight against the injustice. No matter how slim the hope was, how difficult the condition was, they could endeavour to overcome them. Especially the Afro-American women, they shocked and suprised the whole world with their powerful spirit and outstanding talent.
    Holding hope, we can realiz our beautiful dreams! Let us all rise, and never say die!

  20. Wendy,Felicia,Linda,Loretta,TUTE,TIANJIN,0402,Group5, says:

    Throuh great tenacity and inflexible will, Maya Angelou became a famous poet. ” Still I Rise” is an important representative work about Afro-Americans fighting for their cival rights.The poem portrays that poeple are full of pride and hopefuness about futrue life.The whole poem is filled with excitement and encouragement.It impels this minority to rise with force and spirit to work hard for the porperity of the courntry.It also reflects their strong desire for freedom and equality.

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