The Shoulders I Stand On …

This day is an oxymoron: Celebrating the birth, light and legacy of Dr. Maya Angelou and mourning the death and unfulfilled dreams of Dr. Martin Luther King. All at the same time. . . And Still I Rise…

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 backyard.
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, “Still I Rise” from And Still I Rise: A Book of Poems.  Copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou.  Used by permission of Random House, an imprint and division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.

Winnie Mandela We Love You by Alice Walker







In Honor and Remembrance of Winnie Mandela



by Alice Walker

Winnie Mandela
We love you.

If we had known you
In a time of peace
We would have loved
Your peacefulness
Your quiet so deep
It did not hear
The call
To fight.

We missed our chance.

Winnie Mandela
We love you.

In a time of war
We love your ferocity.

We love your vigilance.
We love your impatience
With killers
And charlatans.
We love your hatred
Of the deaths of our people.
We love your hatred
Of despair.

Winnie Mandela
We love you.

We love your beauty.
We love your style.
We love your hats,
And various lengths
Of hair.
We love the passion
In your body.
The fury in your eyes.
When you smile
We are amazed.

We love your loyalty
To Nelson
The  beautiful.
Your attention to
The children
And the voluptuousness
Of the countryside
Which will be ours
We love your memory
Of details.
We love that you do not intend
To forget.

Winnie Mandela, “Lucy,”
We love you

For helping us recognize
The eternity you’ve been with us before.

Winnie Mandela, Sister,
We love you.

Yours is the contemporary face
Of the mother
Of the human race.


From Her Blue Body Everything We Know: Earthling Poems 1965-1990 Complete, Harcourt Brace publishers;  by Alice Walker

Happy Birthday, Beloved!  26th September.