Happy Leap Day

It’s Leap Day, which means you have an extra day to procrastinate, not do anything, and really contemplate how much you really don’t do anything.

How stoked are you?!

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Poem of the Week | Still I Rise

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Can I just say before I dive into this week’s POW, that I’m super proud of myself for actually remembering to do it. I’m really working on my follow through, guys. Now if only I could get caught up on my book reviews…

Moving on.

This week’s POW was chosen with Black History month in mind, as well as yesterday’s post on Andra Day.

Still I Rise by Maya Angelou was published in 1978 in Angelou’s third book of poetry And Still I Rise. The poem, which was one of her favorites, refers to the indomitable spirit of Black people.

I like to think that this poem can transcend race. Baring in mind that it was written during a time when race what a hot button issue, I think today it’s an affirmation to anyone who’s ever felt pushed down or low. I really want to get a print of this and frame it somewhere in my apartment so it can forever be a constant reminder to Rise.

Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

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 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.

What I’m Listening To | Andra Day

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There is a real chance that I am no longer on the up and up when it comes to rising artists. I thinks that’s what they call ‘getting older’. Sigh.

In any case, my dad was actually the first person who told me to listen to Andra Day after I had mentioned my new affinity for Leon Bridges. I had every intention of doing so, but then was distracted by one thing or another, forgot her name and life went on. Then last week, I was reading something about the Grammy’s and read her name, saw her picture, and remembered, “That’s the girl dad was telling me to listen to!” 

Hi-Ho-Hi-Ho off to Spotify I go! 

If you haven’t already been mesmerized by the amazing, beautiful and soulful voice that is Andra Day, please make your way to Spotify, iTunes, Pandora etc!

Vaguely reminiscent of a blend of Amy Whinehouse and Adele, Andra Day is a refreshing and enchanting addition to the neo-soul genre.

But you don’t have to take my word for it, check out the video below of the acoustic version of her single ‘Rise Up’, and the Spotify link to my personal favorite (aside from Rise Up) ‘Rearview’.

photo source

It’s Called History – Learn From It

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I’ve been struggling with the idea of writing post(s) with Black History Month in mind. I had the notion towards the beginning of the month to dedicate a post a week to a significant person in the Black community but then I started wondering if in doing so I would then feel obligated to write similar posts for other similar observances and I nixed that idea.

Here’s the thing, if you’ve read my About Me page/post, you may recall that I am bi-racial (my mom’s white and my dad is black). The extent of my Black History knowledge goes only just a smidge farther than my public school and college education provided me. My dad will often joke that my “Black card” has been revoked (although I’m not certain I ever received one to begin with), when the gaps in my knowledge are glaringly obvious (to him).

With this in mind, I had thought about penning (figuratively speaking) posts with Black History Month in mind. Not only as a way for myself to lessen my own knowledge gaps, but for others to do so as well. The hitch with this is that, like I said earlier, I wondered if I would be expected (from myself or others) to do similar posts for other similar observances. But also, even if I did decide to write these posts, I probably would only have written one or two, if that, because I’m a procrastinator and it took me almost all of of February just to write this post.

I have decided that this week’s Poem of the Week will be inspired by Black History Month (check back on Wednesday to see the poem), so there’s that.

photo source

Poem of the Week | Do Not Go Gently Into That Goodnight

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This weeks POW is Do Not Go Gently Into That Goodnight by the welsh poet Dylan Thomas.

Thomas is one of my favorite poets and this, along with I Have Longed to Move Away, is one of my favorite poems of his.

Written in 1947 and first published in 1951, Do Not Go Gently is written in the style of villanelle and was said to be about Thomas’ ailing father.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.