“Phenomenal Woman” of 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.

The poem “Phenomenal Woman” is a known poetic work of Maya Angelou, a poetess and a public person, one of the most successful African-American women in the middle of the ХХth century in America.

The author confirms self-critically enough: “I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size”, – and really – Maya Angelou or Margaret Ann Johnson, as she was called actually, was by no means a sample of physical excellence and attractiveness. Although her life experience was complex and she had to sell herself at different times (prostitution, dance shows), her appeal concealed not in the body, but in the spirit. The author says: “I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,  

That’s me”.

Objectively, phenomenal aspect of this author is in the fact that Maya Angelou actually feels like a woman in the deepest sense of this word. Forcing the path through thickets of public stereotypes into popularity, she was a black (which served in itself as the grounds for discrimination) woman (still in the socially undeveloped societies, a woman is regarded as a creature of the second or third grade) and additionally, she was originally from a poor family. Objectively, “Pretty women wonder where my secret lies… But when I start to tell them, They think I’m telling lies”.

What is the special thing, which attracts these numerous men, who cannot resist magic (or insistence?) of this phenomenal woman? The author believes that “It’s the fire in my eyes, And the flash of my teeth, The swing in my waist is And the joy in my feet…”. And at the same time she confirms that even “Men themselves have wondered What they see in me”, but they cannot understand this to the full.

What is this poem about? About the fact that a woman is a phenomenon. The woman who is strong enough to remain forever one, even in the most unfavorable external conditions. An accomplished woman, a self- made woman, a self-confident woman – Maya Angelou, certainly, speaks about herself. But also about the stuff, which is important for her in every person. Yes, a woman is a miracle much more complex for cognition, than a man. At least just because she is able to undermine imagination of a man, be a source of life and the source of “My inner mystery”. Of the secret, on which those ones, who did not receive access, cannot touch.

However, there is one more important thing. It is the one, which is important both for women and men from the author`s point of view: “Just why my head’s not bowed. I don’t shout or jump about Or have to talk real loud”. Not to bow, not to speak loudly, not to try to conquer attention by any external manifestations. But only by the world inside. “ ’Cause I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That’s me”.

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