You may write us down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod us in the very dirt

But still, like dust, we’ll rise.

Does our sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

‘Cause we walk like we’ve got oil wells

Pumping in our living rooms

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still we’ll rise.

Did you want to see us broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops,

Weakened by our soulful cries?

Does our haughtiness offend you?

Don’t you take it awful hard?

‘Cause we laugh like we’ve got gold mines

Diggin’ in our own backyards

You may shoot us with your words,

You may cut us with your eyes,

You may kill us with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, we’ll rise

Does our sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise?

That we dance like we’ve got diamonds

Nestled between our thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame

We rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

We rise

We’re a multicolored ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling we ride in on the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

We rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

We rise

Bringing the gifts that our ancestors gave,

Out of the hovel, the jail and the grave

We are the dreams and the hopes of the Republic,

We are the spirits of the patriots,

We are the voices long unheard,

We are the claims about to come due

We are the final word

We are finally one people and we will now be heard!

We rise,

We rise,

We rise!

An adaptation by Larry Conley of Still I Rise by Maya Angelou to reflect the changed circumstances of the quest for an America Built to Last.

© 2012, Larry Conley. All rights reserved.

Larry Conley (36 Posts)

I am a veteran of the U. S. Army. My good fortune is to be married to a wonderful woman and have two remarkable twin sons who are making their way in the world. I taught civics in a Pittsburgh area middle school. I am a cat and dog lover.


  1. Wonderful adaptation, Larry and a powerful message. I can hear Maya Angelou’s voice with yours!

  2. LarryConley (Author)

    Thank you Cher!

  3. Terrific flow and cadence Larry, and quite commanding and inspiring. Just love it!

    • LarryConley (Author)


      Thank you so much!

      I have often said, “Citizens Arise!” and this poem seems to capture that spirit.

      In my view, if ever there was a time when we needed to rise, this is surely it.

      Thanks again.


  4. Damn straight. There’s just something to be said for “exploiting” and embracing those who are like-minded. And stand together. Thanks again, I enjoyed this so much more reading it again today bud.

  5. Okay I’m back here! (thanks for putting up with me).

    Larry, this has the same cadence and “beat” of that Rocks Off thing I wrote. It’s uncanny actually. We oughtta put them together and see.

    Kinda trippy. :)


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