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Photo: Bee and thistle: Taken high in the Cascade Mountains where there is a bee buzzing on every thistle. by Debora Rorvig

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

for Maya--Phenomenal

I woke this morning to the news that Maya Angelou had died. I feel as though I have lost a dear friend, a mentor; a She-ro.

To some, it makes no sense that I would be so profoundly sad for the loss of someone I never knew. But I would argue that I did know her. She spoke to me and it was personal.  Her voice was calm and soothing, her words were always wise. She told me that I am phenomenal. That caged birds sing about freedom. She showed me how a poor little girl (as I once was) can grow up to become a woman of dignity because it isn't where one starts, but where one finishes that matters. She reminded me to be still and listen to my heart; and in so doing, I just might hear the voice of God.

Maya Angelou's departure has left a gaping hole in my world. And not just my world, but in our world. Who will dare to step into the void left by this woman, this phenomenal woman? Are any of us able; are there any phenomenal among us? I hope so. Oh, I really hope so. She left us her words. She told us how.

Photo by Patrick Schneider

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.
Share this text ...?

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


Bookie said...

I certainly know your feelings ! Beautifully written !

Elephant's Child said...

Our world is diminished with her passing - and my heart is sore.


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