Janice Tovey
2 min readDec 12, 2021

Determination and Survival!

Photo by Max Harlynking on Unsplash

This poem is Mary Angelou’s third poem. It is actually 32 short poems that have been divided into three parts. The theme of the poem focuses on a hopeful determination that rises above discouragement and difficulty. She speaks particularly to her gender and race, and she emphasizes resiliency and strength.

This poem is spoken with a confident voice, an individual who recognizes her own power and will not permit being pushed into a state of passivity.

I especially like this poem because of the dominant themes, of determination survival, and strong women!

Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash

I hope you enjoy it!

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 likes 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 be with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.



Janice Tovey

My passion is writing. I also love reading, teaching, animals, nature, music, and humor. I am curious about everything and enjoy writing about all things.