Does my sassiness upset you?

“Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.”

— Maya Angelou circa 1978 (its my favorite thing to say, yessss that bit right there…Does something to my soul!)

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Dr. Maya Angelou is my SHEro.

Unmistakably, one of the most influential voices of our time. She is a beautiful and celebrated poet, author, educator, dramatist, playwright, producer, actress, historian, filmmaker, philanthropist, and civil rights activist.

In a nutshell,  she is EVERYTHING!

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Her poetry takes me places that seem familiar, relative, and on a high that I don’t ever want to come down from.
With so many books, speeches, and poems under her belt, it’s hard to pick a favorite,  but for the sake of this post, I’ll settle on this. 

Phenomenal Woman

BY MAYA ANGELOU

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.

Thanks for reading!
Peace and love,
Dee

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5 comments
  1. I love the “I say
    It’s in the reach of my….”
    Did you know she was raped when she was 9 and stopped talking until a white lady made it a point to keep reading to her?

    • Yes! I learned that when I was a young girl. Everthing about her fascinated me, but nothing more than the freedom within that she accomplished. It’s the thing I most identify with. That liberation.

      Thanks for reading..
      Dee

  2. Outside of an Easter speech, this Maya Angelou poem is the first one I ever learned to deliver. It is every Black girls first theme song. I’ve read almost everything she’s published, which is autobiographical. I am often amazed at all the lives she’s lived in a single life time. Then I’m inspired, knowing no matter what choices I make today I can choose differently tomorrow. It’s one of the most beautiful lessons I think I’ve ever learned. Thank you for sharing.

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