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

 

when writing and OCD collide

Don’t you hate it when two things come to blows with one another?  Teeth sensitivity and ice cream.  Cold intolerance during a beautiful winter snow.  Potato chips and canker sores.

Sometimes yin and yang bump heads.

I’ve found the combination of writing and OCD to be quite the double edged sword.  Laser-like focus (or what some might call obsession) pushes me to develop engaging storylines, strong sentence structure, creative expressions, along with correct grammar and punctuation.  It’s what compels me to read a piece for the thirtieth time, determined to strip every last extraneous word out until it’s smooth as silk.  It’s usually why I’m up until 1:00am, too.

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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

 

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

writing “Read me, Seymour!” titles

Imagine this: you’ve reached the end of your time on the Earth.  You’re standing before St. Peter (folks who aren’t on board with the whole Pearly Gates scenario, just roll with me for a minute) and this is what you hear: “Tell me why you deserve to stay in heaven.  You have thirty seconds.  Go.”

You’re faced with arguably the most important pitch of your existence, and the seconds are ticking away.  No pressure, right?

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Blogger Recognition Award

What a delight to learn that I’d been nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award!  Many thanks to Mom Of Two Little Girls for visiting RFTM and sharing the love.  You should check out her work – she’s blogging her way through motherhood, and a lot of us can relate to that.

blogger-recognition-award

To pay it forward, here are the rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Write a post to show your award.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Select 15 other bloggers for this award.
  • Comment on each of their blogs, letting them know they’re nominated and linking back to this post.

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