Sunday, June 18, 2006

Juneteenth: A day for freedom and reflection

The following is part of an email from my dear brother in Christ, Will, who lives in the eastern part of the San Francisco Bay Area. He hopes that the poem he sent along touches me as much as it did him. My hope and prayer is that it also touches each of us on our journey, that we may receive it, that we may repent of any hurts committed against one another, and by so doing reconcile us to each other and ourselves to eventually come to restore health and wellbeing among us.

"Today is Juneteenth ... that day when the Black citizens of Texas were informed that the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed (and as the black preacher I heard said, "I wish that the white people of Texas had ALSO been informed, because they needed to know it, too."
Anyway ... here is imho one of Maya Angelou's best ...
and I hope it touches you as it did me when I read it. Will."

Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

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.

1 comment:

Catherine + said...

I thank Will for sending such an appropriate poem for where we find ourselves these days in the Church.

And we will rise and not back down.