By Susan Trower
Students in Georgia Chehade’s 6th/7th Grade Humanities class read and analyzed the poem, “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou as part of their class celebration of Black History Month in February. They considered speaker and audience and how Angelou used figurative language, especially metaphor and simile, to illustrate her poem’s message of resilience and strength.
Afterward, students wrote their own poems modeled after Angelou’s “Still I Rise,” answering these questions:
- From where does your voice come: your family, your culture, your beliefs, your friends, your experiences?
- For what would you like to use your voice, now and in the future?
Here are two poems, one by a 7th grader and one by a 6th grader, from that project:
An ocean breeze bites my face,
a freeing of the soul.
A tugging at my intuition,
and a snapping of strings.
I stand on the edge of the world,
the beginning of something.
Like dragons from fantasy worlds fly,
free and clear.
Up and up and up
Carrying weary fighters on their back,
a view of the world below.
Wanting to be a hero,
to be that dragon,
When you crawl out of a tunnel,
your eyes adjust to the light.
There’s more to living,
more than twisted emotions.
Tangled within your mind,
like a knotted maze filled with fear.
Swarms of concerns, apprehensions, and guilt.
Your consciousness, a book filled with wrinkled-up papers,
smudged ink, and running watercolor.
Each step, a stroke of the brush, a new page,
skimming through every chapter, trying to find the answers,
the right thing to do, what corner to turn.
The directions to a long-anticipated finite-perceived idea-
the ending of the story.
The evil and the good,
light against dark.
Shadows hiding in corners.
In plain sight, they choke us.
A gasping for air as lights blur.
Hands grip at your being,
crumbling like the roots of a plant
as it’s shaken.
We stand still, like dolphins thriving in a sea of killer whales.
I care about everything that lives
I try to be sunny as the sun shining down on my family
always wanting to bring them joy and laughter
When bad things happen I trudge through them, however long it will take
There is always an opposite of bad in the future, waiting to be used.
My friends are family. I would be lost without my friends. They make me ME.