Maya Angelou: Phenomenal Woman


Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou
Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies,
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s 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 step, the curl of my lips.
I’m a woman phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman, that’s me.

Maya Angelou, 1970

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 in my waist, and the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman phenomenally.
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 phenomenally.
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 phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman, that’s me.

Maya Angelou’s sage wisdom has been a life raft for a generation of women. I had hoped Oprah would bring her on as a frequent guest when she launched her “Change Your Life” campaign. So, I was ecstatic to read Ms. Angelou’s latest book, Letter to My Daughter.

March is Women’s History Month, and Sunday, March 8, was International Women’s Day. On March 11, President Obama will sign an executive order creating the White House Council on Women and Girls followed by awards to International Women of Courage.

I think there’s no better way to celebrate than to honor a woman who has overcome many adversities, lived a full life in countries around the world, and achieved amazing success in an extensive array of professions. Ms. Angelou is the epitome of a “phenomenal woman.”

Ms. Angelou is a prolific writer. My favorites are I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Amazing Peace.

Maya Angelou, presidential inauguration, 1993

Related link:

Remembering Dr. Maya AngelouSuper Soul Sunday, OWN

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