Remembering a Phenomenal Woman – 100 Day Blog Challenge – Day 59

I Rise – A Phenomenal Woman

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Heaven called one of their angels home today.  Dr. Maya Angelou, author, poet, motivational speaker passed today.  She was 86 years young.  It’s funny (in a weird, cosmic way) because the other day, I read an article about Dr. Angelou and her condition and I couldn’t help but wonder when her time would come.  Call it a premonition, but I felt it coming – I just didn’t know when.

Maya Angelou is one of those public figures who is known around the world for her influence on others.  I had the honor of hearing her speak as an undergrad at St. John’s University.  Alumni Hall was packed and as she spoke, you could feel the wisdom and her words go right through you.  She commanded attention and you wanted to hear her words.  I am saddened by her loss, but uplifted in knowing her legacy lives on through her work.

One of my favorite poems is Phenomenal Woman.  Here’s the poem in its entirety:

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
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 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 for my care.   
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.”

Maya Angelou, “Phenomenal Woman” from And Still I Rise. Copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou.

This is my anthem, my mantra, my go to poem on those days when I don’t feel worthy. That’s the power of Maya Angelou.  Thank you, Maya Angelou, for giving us your wisdom and the ability to share your wisdom for generations to come.