self-love, truth, wholeness

A Phenomenal Woman, Indeed

mayaangelouAbout 16 years ago, at a house party, the hosts were holding a spontaneous talent show.  I was new here. Recently transplanted from Chicago, I was searching. Searching for my place in Dallas. Searching  for my place in the world. Searching for my power.

The people at this party welcomed me with open arms. The talent show was diverse, interesting, and as people went up, risking vulnerability, but burning with a desire to express themselves, I began to feel at home.

Then Kathy, the beautiful matriarch of the group, got up and recited a poem that gripped me and gave me chills.  As she read it and traced her hips, a sparkle in her eyes, a smirk on her lips, I felt so proud to be a woman. Something shifted in me. I was ready to own my power, my beauty, my grace and my influence. It was this poem that encouraged me to “come of age”, to claim my womanhood with pride and class… it touched my soul and inspired me into more of my fullness.

You’ve probably heard it before, or read it, it’s definitely one of Maya Angelou’s most “mainstream” poems, but today, in honor of a woman whose phenomenal influence is global, and will continue to ripple, likely for the rest of our years on this planet, in honor of a woman whose phenomenal influence grounded and rooted me and gave me permission to shine, to sparkle, I share this poem with you…

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

– Maya Angelou (1928-2014)


  1. ♥ Lovely, I don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure of reading it all. Thank you for sharing your experience. Loving You ♥

  2. Inspiring…Maya AND Lisa!

  3. Lisa, this was lovely. I loved the peom. I have never heard it before. Thank you for sharing and so glad you moved to Dallas. Love always, Hoots

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