Still I Rise- An Inspirational Poem 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 backyard.
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.
Source: The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou (1994)
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A Poem – Ali Sardar Jafri

1Don’t look at me so lovingly

In the soft shadow of your eyelashes

Moonlight looks like drowning

And I’ve to go a long way.

The desert’s sand is burning,

the blisters on my soles

flare up like cinders.

This look of love may last or vanish

Who look of love may last or vanish

Who keeps burning in the desert of fidelity?

Your heart may bear in mind or may forget

Don’t look at me so lovingly.

Ali Sardar Jafri was a prolific and versatile Urdu writer from India. ‘A Poem’  is an English translation of one of his wonderful creation in Urdu language. This poem expresses the emotions of a lover who is about to part from his beloved. He is very sad about the fact that he might not be able to meet her again. He is not sure if she would remember him or forget him.

 

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Daily Wages

In a corner of blue sky

The mill of night whistles

A white thick smoke

Pours from the moon chimney

In dreams many furnaces

Laborer low

Is stocking all the fires.

I earn our meeting

Holding you for a while

My day’s wages.

I buy my souls food

cook and eat it

And set the empty pot in the corner.

I warm my hands at the dying fire

And lying down to rest

Give God thanks.

The mill of night whistles

And from the moon-chimney

Smoke rises, sign of hope.

I eat what i earn,

Not yesterday’s leftovers

And leave no grain for tomorrow.

– A Poem by Amrita Pritam

 

 

 

 

Beggar : English Translation of Suryakant Tripathy Nirala’s Hindi Poem “Bhikshuk”

He comes.

Making us repentant with remorseful remarks,

He comes on path.

His stomach and back seems one,

A stick in hand,

Asking for alms and grain,

To satisfy his hunger.

He spreads forward

His torn satchel,

Making us repentant with remorseful remarks,

He comes on path.

Two children with him always,

With one hand on their starved belly

Other hand raised

to attract some merciful sight,

Lips and mouth parched.

Receiving no mercy from the Maker,

Starving, can’t sob and shed tears

Busy eating decayed leftover by a roadside

Competing with stray dogs

To satiate their hunger.

– Translated by Shayna.

Suryakant Tripathy Nirala, was an eminent Hindi writer born on 21 february, 1896 in a Brahmin family of Midnapore in Bengal (originally from Unnao, Uttar Pradesh). He was a  Hindi poet, novelist, essayist and story writer of high mark. He ushered in a new style of poetry and pioneered the Chhayavaad movement along with some other Hindi writers.

In the poem Beggar Nirala depicts the sorry plight of beggars. Hunger makes them beg for money and some food. But nobody feels sorry for them and these beggar children are forced to eat leftovers and at the same time they have to fight and compete with stray dogs to fill their starved bellies. It is pathetic see how humans are lowered down to the level of animals because of their poverty.

This poem is a strong indictment of society where rich keeps getting rich and the poor is always poor. A poor man lives his whole life struggling to make his both ends meet but never gets to feed himself properly. Poor children are always starving and malnutrition ed but society and government never gets to do anything to improve their sorry condition.

A Tear and a Smile: A Poem by Khalil Gibran

Khalil Gibran in this poem has written a beautifully inspirational poem full of positive sentiments towards life.  His poem is full of wisdom and he do understand that life is the mix of both sorrows and happiness. He would love to experience the life in its full and be content with his situations.

I would not exchange the sorrows of my heart
For the joys of the multitude.
And I would not have the tears that sadness makes
To flow from my every part turn into laughter.

I would that my life remain a tear and a smile.

A tear to purify my heart and give me understanding
Of life’s secrets and hidden things.
A smile to draw me nigh to the sons of my kind and
To be a symbol of my glorification of the gods.

A tear to unite me with those of broken heart;
A smile to be a sign of my joy in existence.

I would rather that I died in yearning and longing than that I live Weary and despairing.

I want the hunger for love and beauty to be in the
Depths of my spirit,for I have seen those who are
Satisfied the most wretched of people.
I have heard the sigh of those in yearning and Longing, and it is sweeter than the sweetest melody.

With evening’s coming the flower folds her petals
And sleeps, embracingher longing.
At morning’s approach she opens her lips to meet
The sun’s kiss.

The life of a flower is longing and fulfillment.
A tear and a smile.

The waters of the sea become vapor and rise and come
Together and area cloud.

And the cloud floats above the hills and valleys
Until it meets the gentle breeze, then falls weeping
To the fields and joins with brooks and rivers to Return to the sea, its home.

The life of clouds is a parting and a meeting.
A tear and a smile.

And so does the spirit become separated from
The greater spirit to move in the world of matter
And pass as a cloud over the mountain of sorrow
And the plains of joy to meet the breeze of death
And return whence it came.

To the ocean of Love and Beauty—-to God.

Speak: An English Translation of Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s Urdu Poem

Speak, your lips are free.
Speak, it is your own tongue.
Speak, it is your own body.
Speak, your life is still yours.

See how in the blacksmith’s shop
The flame burns wild, the iron glows red;
The locks open their jaws,
And every chain begins to break.

Speak, this brief hour is long enough
Before the death of body and tongue:
Speak, ’cause the truth is not dead yet,
Speak, speak, whatever you must speak.

Translated by Azfar Hussain

 

Faiz Ahmed Faiz was an intellectual and revolutionary poet belonging to Pakistan. He is one of the most famous Urdu Poets.

Originally written in Urdu this poem is a beautiful expression of poet’s desire to speak up his mind. He wants to utilize the strength of his words and their impact. He wants to free himself from the shackles of bondage and he firmly believes that we need to raise our voice and speak aloud and clearly.

When we read this poem in original Urdu language the beauty of poetry grows manifold. There is no doubt that Urdu is the most poetic language. Every word uttered in Urdu is a poem in itself.

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Shakespeare

Shakespeare
Shakespeare

A very little is known about Shakespeare’s early life. Born on 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon to a middle-class merchant family Shakespeare is also called as the Bard of Avon. He married at the age of eighteen years and became father of three children. He moved to London and started as a an actor and later became a successful playwright as well.

Shakespeare’s writing developed and evolved throughout his career. Scholars often divide his work into periods based on different aspects of his writing style.

Shakespeare startes his literary career by writing Sonnets. The sonnets are constructed of fourteen lines, divided into three groups of four lines, called quatrains, and a final group of two lines called a couplet. Usually the mood of the sonnet changes in the third quatrain as the writer expresses a realization or sudden insight.

All of the sonnets are written in iambic pentameter and the final word in each line follows an abab cdcd efef gg rhyming scheme. To this day, any poem written in this pattern is known as a Shakespearean sonnet.

SONNET 18 – SHALL I COMPARE THEE TO A SUMMER’S DAY?

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Explanation:

The opening line poses a simple question which the rest of the sonnet answers. The poet compares his loved one to a summer’s day and finds him to be “more lovely and more temperate.”

The poet discovers that love and the man’s beauty are more permanent than a summer’s day because summer is tainted by occasional winds and the eventual change of season.

 

What is Unique about this Sonnet:

Surprisingly, the subject to whom the sonnet is addressed is traditionally not a woman, but a man?