We understand the power of words. Traditionally, we are accustomed to hearing the cliche of “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” While we would like to believe that, the reality is that behind words is energy. Depending on the words we use, the energies can be nutritious or chaotic. They can enrich you, or keep you in a state of staleness. They can reward you with answers, or leave you in confusion’s bliss. There are many directions, colors, patterns, and textures to words. Its these life-enriching energies, which gives words their power.
When we read a particular book, poem, or literary work, which fills us with a sacred energy of wholeness, its impossible not to taste those words. Its impossible not to experience the sensory of words. There is just something about language and sound, which titillates the emotions, mentalities, and Souls of the human experience. Yet, such word play, such artistry, allows for a realistic experience into the journey of vocal oratory, and how they impact the human Spirit and mental psyche. Furthermore, words have the power to describe and articulate the energies and sensory, which highlights our particular journeys in this essence, called. . .life. Words illuminate the experience of moving through Earth’s planes, and how we interact with other people in our human experience. Words are magical. They dance. They sing. They laugh. Play. Cry. Are Angered. When words are truly tasted and experienced, they personify humanity.
There is something about particular poets, who have that power to make personify words. They do it so majestically, that you would almost think the words were human. Something about particular writers, where they bring a mystical approach to the power of words; doing it so magically, that you imagine yourself jumping into this wind, where words color, design, and pattern you-permitting you to feel alive and brand new. It goes just to show how oratory is intertwined into other performing arts and visual artistry. It helps if you have been a dancer, singer, actress, or visual artist, prior towards entering the realm of writing; and the sacred world it captures. You understand the power of rhythm, beat, texture, and timber, when it comes to the world of writing. You have performed the richness of sensory, and its precious entity to the human experience. Performing it, tasting it, smelling it, feeling it, hearing it, seeing it. Once a writer is able to do this, there is an essence in crafting it on paper. Capturing a particular coloring of sound, and trapping it onto a stagnant, material possession, is what makes writing so magical. Writers, poets-they give us the experience of re-living and re-reading the magic all over again.
There was a sacred writer and Being-a daughter, mother, wife, lover, creator, and gatekeeper of Black American soiling-who brought more than power for our observation. When she spoke, we didn’t simply listen. We danced. We cried. We shouted. We laughed. Whatever our humanity could do in expressing our reaction to her words, we would do. You just had to. How could you be stale or rigid, when hearing her speak. It was simply impossible to do that. Such a Being is none other than the late, and great,
Dr. Maya Angelou
Each of her poems told particular stories. There is one in mind, which colored the spiritual world, and the ascension of humanity into greatness. The audacity of humanity to be powerful, and to reveal the illusions of limitations and man-made barriers. The miracle of transforming inadequacies, insufficiency, and marginalization; all the while using it as a knowledge base for a greater scale. Starting from the bottom in order to master the art of achieving greatness. Ah! Isn’t the Universe grand? Isn’t it powerful to assess a greater majesty, a greater power, in the works of overcoming the restrictions, which have been ordained for us? There is something about it, which enriches our very Being, all over again. Its tranquil. Its powerful! Its Divine! And, that’s why its so precious.
In her poem, “And Still I Rise,” readers are taken into that journey of ascension. Its a telling in the planting of seeds-the physical, the mental, and the spiritual. From the moment we are born, we have become rooted in Earth’s soiling. We become a vital source in life’s continuation. From the very moment we are born, we begin to grow and move in the recycling of energies for Earth’s fruition. Some of us come as seedlings meant to transform Earth’s realities. Others are seedlings, who sustain the harmony, while the transformation, occurs. That includes unhealthy conditions and restrictions, that have been crafted to undermine the human Spirit; while ensuring its destruction. One of the major themes, pertaining to the poem, “And Still I Rise,” is that it conveys that power of transformation. While that change, and transformation, is happening, one is able to see the performance of humanity in this magical whirlwind. Using humor, imagination, and Earth’s sacred treasures as a means to color one’s existence, its a strategy to defy restrictions, oppression, and circumstances designed to keep them, below.
There are other poems, which conveys these particular experiences, for other human Beings. They articulate other cultural stories of liberation, harmony, and the yearning to proclaim one’s humanity. Simultaneously, the poem “And Still I Rise,” is an exploration of the Black American experience. The desire to design and paint oneself in Universal ecstasy and aesthetics; while in the midst of hostility and the negating of Blackness.
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.
The very first stanza provides an illuminating awakening into how the capturing of words (particularly in US soiling) was done to disconnect Black American people from Universal aesthetics. When a people are painted as removed from this sacred realm-whether mentally or physically-there is a breaking in their humanity, should they decide to believe it. Furthermore, it also highlights the power of the tongue. What does sound do when it is projected into Universal greatness? Based on the words conveyed in sound’s projection, how does it transform vocal auras into a negative or positive? If attempts to taint the very existence of this peculiar group-hoping for to fade away, through self-destruction, and self-hate–fails, what does it say about the resilience and artistry of this people?
You may trod me in the very dirt, But still, like dust, I’ll rise
You cannot help, but to reflect upon one lyrical mastery of famed poet, rapper, and Hip Hop legend-TUPAC SHAKUR-“They tried to bury us, but didn’t know we were seeds.” From this very verbal play, alone, you knew he understood these peculiar gardens of Black American soiling. These were fluid gardens, and they were forced to return to Universal blackness, for the renewal, recreation, and restoration, of self. He knew. He understood our people’s his/herstory of moving into Blackness. There is a sacredness of Dr. Maya Angelou, and her selection of the term “dust.” She is clearly reconnecting Black American people’s existence to a natural, healing ecstasy with the Earth. She is speaking our people back into a natural healing elixir with Earth’s remedy. During our enslavement, and after, attempts were made to remove us from Earth’s nourishment. Some attempts were unsuccessful. Yet, with that very phrasing, alone, she plants us back into the soiling.
Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I’ll rise
Water’s texture continues to guide this poem. You can feel a level of fluidity. Again, water is spoken of, in connection with the tides of moons. That same element is repeated, in case we did not catch it the first time.
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide, Welling and swelling, I bear in the tide
While waters carried our people into fruition, it was the Moon, which kept the time. Through time, we move, recreated, and rebuilt, with the water’s timing. Through and through, a spiritual nourishment was consistent, if Black Americans were going to survive and overcome this more than difficult journey.
Throughout each stanza, there was a reminder of using nature’s creation and essence, in order to cleanse ourselves from the filth and dirtiness directed towards our Being. The filth of hate. The dirt of enslavement. The lifeless eneregy of lies. The stench of removing a person from their humanity is something, which had to be cleansed; in order that we not succumb to our own destruction. It had to be aired. It was through our laughter, our walk, our projection of our humanity, through the planting of our own gardens.
You see, Ladies and Gentlemen, terms only become alive if people believe them. If you call a person a slave, and yet they do not believe themselves to be slaves, there is no life in the term. They may be enslaved-as what was conveyed to me in my first year-second semester, in undergrad. Yes, they were placed in a brutal system. Simultaneously, if you are aware that you are greater than a position, prescribed for you by another, the term is meaningless. Its all in the mind. That’s another one of the great components, regarding this phenomenal piece.
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave
There it is! Its the very proof in what I had conveyed to you, in prior sentencing. They knew their worth. They knew they were valuable. Even they did not live to see freedom. Even if they did not live to experience living in a system outside of their enslavement, they would dream it for future seedlings of their people. They would project those energies and vibes into the Universe; ones which celebrated their humanity. Through the consistency of creativity, they would project them over and over again, until they became true-even if they didn’t live to see it! That’s why we have no choice, but to rise!
While moving forwarding into the future, and reclaiming past time’s domain, we are introduced into another movement of consistency. Another cleansing phase, through creativity’s domain, is brought into the atmosphere. These current times require that, we, the present generation of Black America’s soiling, retreat into the richness of our ancestor’s words. Replanting their seeds, watering them, and standing back to observe them grow. Then, we are able to collect the fruits for the fruition of their delight. Its delectable! Such gives us the momentum in bridging forward into this delightful atmosphere. Furthermore, we are also able to move through the treasures of oratory; allowing them to fulfill our desire and transparency for the atmosphere. These are things, which brings us fruition into the realm. Regardless of the dirtiness, which has been brought our way, we must continue to rise. There are no excuses. Things have to move forward. Things must progress. The gardens must always bloom.
Words have the power to grow! In the very essence of speaking them, a person can color the people, and persons, on whom it is being projected upon. Simultaneously, it can also be a staunch, dire, and colorless energy, that is begins to erode the life from the very image of a person. Ugly words and lifeless statements denies a person value in the authenticity of the very culture, which has birthed and created them. That’s why we have to be careful with our words.
So, for the people of Black America’s gardens, grow fruitious words. Plant natural seeds, and produce nutritious fruits. Water them daily with loving thoughts and gracious wisdom. Nourish them thoughtfully. Care for them tenderly. Kiss them and blow them, throughout our garden’s delight. Blow them through the windy waters in caresses of moon’s night. Share them with our children, the young, and the old. Preserve them in memory, for elders’ stories, untold!
Stand back. Observe. And watch them. . .Rise!