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Phenomenal Woman | Maya Angelou

I first heard of this poem when our Pastor shared this during one Sunday sermon. I never knew the legendary Maya Angelou but after listening and digging into the meaning as it was recited, I felt a sense of empowerment. Her poem is quite catchy but everyone in the room knows it’s more than the rhyming at every end of the stanza.

Not all people, let alone women of this generation, could ever know the autobiography of this modern day Renaissance woman that’s why I am sharing this poem. It may have an impact one way or another.

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Phenomenal Woman | 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


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.


For me, the poem is inspiring, self-assuring, motivating. Not being a feminist, but to every woman who might happen to read this, let it be mirror to yourself. What is a phenomenal woman? A phenomenal woman is passionate and intentional. She is true to herself, her voice and her inner self. She is resourceful and honest. A phenomenal woman can have any physical appearance yet the non-falsity of her appearance makes her unique. She  proudly asserts it and is happy with what she has. Such honesty radiates immense confidence which breaks the stereotypes and refuses to mold to society’s interpretation. 

Get to see this poem in fine color and print as it was adapted by the cartoonist Gavin Aung. Check out his cartoon blog which adapts inspirational quotes into comic stories, (site that I really love to visit) Zen Pencils.

Everybody’s got a story, visit Maya Angelou’s official website to find out more about this phenomenal woman’s journey.