Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

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 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.

Carole’s birdsong

Cool and crisp,
a September breeze blows
over summer bronzed legs
as I watch the cardinals
come and go.
They time their swoops
to the crickets' song,
stealing the feeder's best seed
before escaping to the closest tree,
hiding their fiery feathers
among green leaves
as they sing their birdsong
out over the water.
I close my eyes and breathe it in,
    rustling leaves
    the cricket song 
    a bird's cry
the world's cascading symphony
as a cardinal perches,
nibbling his fill.
I recognize my mom in his graceful flight
and see her freedom
in powerful wings.
Carole's birdsong rises to the heavens,
as the music around me
soars and swells
to nature's time.  

               - ljh 9/10/17

 

the sound of a thousand tomorrows

I.
The sand stretches
on and on.
From my umbrella's shade
to the toe lapping coolness
of waves sliding in,
I sprint across the wide expanse
crying Ouch! 
with every step.
Trapped heat scalds
my soles as
I tumble headlong
toward the water's
promise of relief,
sighing as saltwalter
takes the sting away.

II.
But the ocean reaches
farther still - 
a hundred miles -
even more -
to a horizon
so hazy
it seems like a
dream.
I close my eyes
and fly,
free,
to the edge of the sky.
Breathing in humid air,
filling my lungs
with the smell of
summers long gone
and starry skies,
I fly.

III.
I fly to the sound
of a thousand tomorrows.
Away from a beach
sharing decades of stories,
above an ocean
singing about an eternity
of the world
in motion.
As I cross the horizon,
for a split second
I'm suspended
between this world
and the next.
Our history sprawled behind me,
an infinite future ahead...
the beauty in all time and space.
I fly.

- ljh  6/24/17

the swing in my waist, and the joy in my feet

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me. 

     - Maya Angelou

 

Forever Family: voices, young and old

The Diner

a friend told me she saw a girl that could have been my sister
i rushed down to the diner but unfortunately missed her
so everyday after school i grabbed myself a table
and waited like a desperate fool as long as i was able
and after several weeks of that i've written off the place
for no one there or anywhere is serving up my face

author unknown
(source)

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Sunday Snapshot: summer’s wild thing

"SCHOOL"

You're like a little wild thing
that was never sent to school.
Sit, I say, and you jump up.
Come, I say, and you go galloping down the sand
to the nearest dead fish
with which you perfume your sweet neck.
It is summer.
How many summers does a little dog have?

Run, run, Percy.
This is our school.

Dog Songs by Mary Oliver, ©2013 

into the morning sky – poems from the sunroom

Morning Birdsong

I close my eyes
and listen -
just listen -
stilling the noise
inside.
Geese honking past,
the woodpecker tapping,
even a rooster chimes in
once in a while.
A low rhythmic undertone -
    who - oo - woo woo woo
And on top the songs of
dozens of birds
run counterpoint -
    eee eee eee eee eee
    ee-ya ee-ya ee-ya eee
    chee chee chee chee chee
a trill scale, a short staccato,
a long low calling that carries
across the water.
Layer after layer
of birdsong
offered up
into the morning sky.

             - ljh 4/14/17