Maya Angelou and You – Phenomenal Women

Like so many women of my generation, I grew up reading the books and poems of the great Maya Angelou. Today I was saddened to hear the news of her death. I immediately thought of this post I wrote two years ago about my place in the world and phenomenal women.


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 

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 
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 of my care, 
‘Cause I’m a woman 
Phenomenal woman, 
That’s me.

Look back at the words! When I read them my  head lifts with pride, my shoulders pull back and my chest sticks out. I feel special and important. As I read the words, whether aloud or silently, I feel the phenomenon that is me! I feel like a phenomenal woman. I see my body and appreciate its lines and curves. I picture the reaction and hushed whispers and looks of admiration when I walk into a room. I agree that when I pass people should be proud to see me, just as I am, because I am a phenomenal woman.

Every person should have a positive self image. There is something powerful and enlightening about having a good self image. When I am around people who stand up straight and think they are wonderful, it is encouraging and empowering and I like it! Appropriate self pride is contagious. When I get all dolled up and start strutting my stuff, my twin daughters get excited and start to prance around. They feel pretty and special. They catch my phenomenon!

Sometimes people need a little spark to light the ember of good self image. For any woman, this Maya Angelou poem can spark a great attitude and self confidence. So the question for you this wonderful day is what sparks the phenomenal woman attitude in you?

43 thoughts on “Maya Angelou and You – Phenomenal Women”

  1. R.I.H Maya, her words are so sweet and really hits home!

  2. Maya was an amazing woman and writer. She will be missed but thankfully her work will be around for generations to enjoy.

  3. Maya Angelou was an amazing woman. She was very inspirational and definitely a motivation for women everywhere!

  4. I love this poem. It really defines who we all should seek to be. Great women, who know our worth and am not afraid to let the world know that we’re great! Great post!

  5. Dr. Angelou’s work was one of the first things that I read that opened up a part of me that I had no idea was even there. I cried real tears when I heard of her passing yesterday, because I felt like I knew her through her writing. I have too many favorite pieces of hers to list. She was a gift to this world, and I am so, so very thankful for her and the way she shared her truth and her words with us.

  6. I was so sad when I heard of her passing. She was an amazing woman.

  7. I’ve always enjoyed reading Maya Angelou’s work. She was an inspiration to many. She will be missed.

  8. I was in total disbelief. Have a hard time believing such a legendary, uplifting, amazing woman has gone. She’s left an incredible legacy that serves as a true source of inspiration and motivation for me.

  9. I have heard about Maya Angelou for years, she has touched many lives and inspired many people. She will be missed.

  10. Maya’s passing is a big loss in the world. She was such a powerful women in the kindest of ways. She really is a phenomenal woman.

  11. I heard it too, I think i seen it on yahoo’s headline news. She’s not familiar to me but I pray for her families strength in this trying times.

  12. If more people were like Maya, the world would be a better place. She certainly contributed a lot during her life!

  13. Never heard of her but sorry to hear about her passing. So nice to see or read stories of women like her who are such an encouragement to everybody especially to us women.

  14. She has touched many. I loved your poem, so fitting!

  15. I was touched by her death too. What a wonderful lot of contributions she made though, while she was alive!

  16. It is really sad news to hear of the death of Maya
    Angelou… Though she’s already dead, her legacy will live on. She is one of
    the reasons I believe that the “pen is mightier than the sword”.

  17. She was so amazing! The world was definitely blessed to have her and her presence!

  18. Reading that poem does some sparking, that’s for sure. She was an extraordinary soul.

  19. She was such a gifted writer and storyteller. She will live on through her work!

  20. It’s very sad that we lost such an influential person.

  21. She was a inspirational woman. I just read he quote about how people remember how you made them feel and it is so true.

  22. So sad to hear of her passing. Such a lovely woman who was so passionate about life.

  23. I cannot believe she has passed. She is a true role model and will be missed by many.

  24. Maya Angelou’s passing is such a loss to the world. What a phenomenal woman and an inspiration

  25. Love your piece! Pretty sure the majority of us in this society (including me) struggle with self image. RIP Maya.

  26. It was with sadness that I heard of the passing of Maya Angelou-she was certainly one of the greats. Her poetry and writings did much to bring woman to the realization that all women are great, no matter their size, color etc. Just knowing that I am me-apologetically- sparks the phenomenal woman attitude in me.

  27. I am sad to hear of her passing, but very happy she made her mark on the world. I wish more people nowadays shared her literature. Maybe this will spark a renaissance.

  28. Maya Angelou was one of the best (and as I described her to a colleague this morning, she was one of the good ones.) It’s sad to hear of her passing. She’s truly an inspiration.

  29. I was saddened to learn of her passing. She was truly inspiring.

  30. Oh I didn’t know that she passed away. She was an inspiration to many and I love that poem. My sympathies to her family.

  31. She was a great woman and an inspiration to so many really sad to hear of her passing.Thank you for sharing this poem.

  32. I was so sad to hear about her passing. She was always on Reading Rainbow when I was a kid.

  33. What a great woman she was, and how lucky we were to have had her for this long. I was saddened to read of her passing this morning.

  34. That is a beautiful poem. I hadn’t read it before! Thank you for sharing. Maya was an inspiration to many.

  35. This is my favorite poem. I first read it in my teens and now I read it to my daughter. Maya Angelou will truly be missed.

  36. I heard about her passing today and was saddened to hear it. She was an amazing woman!

How do these ideas work in your world?

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