Phenomenal Woman

Updated: May 2, 2020

The legendary poem By Dr. Maya Angelou that inspired many women all over the world, myself included.

Beautiful black, a picture by Bash Fahad Mutumba

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. 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, “Phenomenal Woman” from And Still I Rise. Copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou. Used by permission of Random House, an imprint and division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.Source: The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou (Random House Inc., 1994)