Phenomenal Woman – Maya Angelou


I love this poem. I first heard it at a poetry recital roughly aged 12 or 13, it was one of those events where you either read aloud your own works, or the works of another. I don’t know how or why this poem stuck, but it did and I often look it up for inspiration. I love to write myself, but poetry, true poetry, is so hard to convey at times that all my words fall out sync and wind up being pages long. To me that’s very simple, unfocused magic! Turning poetry into a short story… I am daft at the best of times.

I was tagged with this too, but felt the need to cheer myself up and referred to this.

I’m not a radical feminist or anything, as they can be way OTT and scary, though that isn’t to say that their views aren’t valid, they make some damn good points, but they all need new PR’s. Anyhoo, without further ado:

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 of 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.

from And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou
copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou.


Author: Sy Calaelen

Sy Calaelen is a British writer, blogger and Youtube vlogger, though she isn't filming at the moment. English literature graduate. Both sites will focus on literary reviews, book lists, comic books and nerd chat, writing and novel tips, and discussions in magick, paganism and the occult. A mixture of everything from her. Reach out on social media from Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, Instagram, GoodReads, and Pinterest.

3 thoughts on “Phenomenal Woman – Maya Angelou

  1. “im not a feminist or anything” this makes me really sad. we’re not all Radicals. consider “im not a RADICAL feminist” instead. i really hope you learn more about what it means to be a feminist. 😦

  2. Who’s the woman pictured in this poem?
    Phenomenon woman

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