06 December 2006

Phenomenal Woman

Thanks to Mitali at The Fire Escape I got to re-read a favorite poem this morning. Maya Angelou was the speaker at my college graduation, nearly 25 years ago. She was (and is) wonderful - a force of nature and a great inspiration. And her phrase "Phenomenal Woman" - or more commonly amongst my fellow alumnae, "Phenomenal Women", so as to encompass the all of us - has become a catch-phrase, a slogan for the class.

by Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies
I'm not cute or built to suit a model's fashion size
But when I start to tell them
They think I'm telling lies.
I say
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips
The stride of my steps
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please
And to a man
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees
Then they swarm around me
A hive of honey bees.
I say
It's the fire in my eyes
And the flash of my teeth
The swing of my waist
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say
It's in the arch of my back
The sun of my smile
The ride of my breasts
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say
It's in the click of my heels
The bend of my hair
The palm of my hand
The need for my care.
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman
That's me.


Anonymous said...

I love this. I haven't read it since my Women's Studies days, and it was grand to read it again. I needed it today!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for reminding me how much I love this poem and Maya Angelou. Phenomenal, yes.