Phenomenal Woman – Jacana Books

Phenomenal Woman

Maya Angelou

Every woman in 2018 ought to know this poem by heart.

Many times, we don’t feel like the superstars that we are. Life can be rough sometimes and when life is not rough, it is busy. Many times,  we are not still enough to appreciate the phenomenon that is us. If you are that woman, this poem is for you.

It was written by American author, actress, screenwriter, dancer, poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou (1928-2014). She needs no introduction. She is best known for 1969 memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.


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

Its’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 in 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.



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