Phenomenal Woman- Maya Angelou

maya-angelou

In honor of National Poetry Month

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.

Maya (Respect for Maya Angelou)-Dave Somerset


Maya(Respect for Maya Angelou) by Dave Somerset

Maya Angelou was a remarkable, accomplished Poet, performer, activist against oppression, and national and historic figure.

Maya Angelou was raped when she was seven years old
She told only her uncle about it
Two days later the man who molested her was found
He had been kicked to death

In the mind of a seven year old
Her words had caused that man’s death
So she stopped speaking, and
She did not speak for five years

During this time she began to read
She read everything
Rooms full of books
All kinds, but especially poetry

As a man, I was very moved
Thinking about, what she had faced
So young, and up against so much beyond her years
yet in her words she said: “still I rise”

I learned that 1 out 5 girls and 1 out of 20 boys
Have been sexually abused as children
That means there is a lot of hurt, out in the world
And a lot of care and sensitivity is needed

But I have not been seeing that
I have been seeing abusive language and aggressive behavior
Especially to and about women
I can’t help but be uncomfortable

How must someone with Mayas experience feel?
How must my daughter feel?
This is often brushed off by men as
Its swagger, I’m cool, its you

That is dishonest, and does not help women or any of us
Besides being a trigger to terrible memories
this must feel threatening to women.
Maya would wonder if these guys had a heart

They were brought into this world by a woman
And yet have no respect for them
Ungrateful, does not begin to describe it
And that abuse in music and art must also feel a dagger to women and girls

Besides being the father of a daughter
Whats my standing in all this?
When I am in the presence of abuse
I am myself also abused

I don’t think being a man
has much to do with being self-centered
or being a show off and insensitive to others
Nothing to do with possessions, power or control

Being a man, in my view has
A lot to do with being kind and generous
And being Supportive and thoughtful
And most of all respectful of others


Dave Somerset is an engineer, who holds US and World patents in design and now has a small IT practice. Thought, physics, music, stories and poetry are all lenses that allow him to see meaning in the universe. Outside of technical papers, none of his work has been published, although decades ago he wrote songs and lyrics with friends. He considers himself a better listener than a writer, enjoying all kinds of writing, music and art. He enjoys reading both his own work and those that he admires, at local venues such as open mics. Some of his favorite venues are: The Walnut St Café, Merrimac Mic, The Cellar, Stone Soup, Zumis and White Rose.

He continues to grow in appreciation and understanding of a wide variety of classic and emerging styles in all arts.]

Maya (Respect for Maya Angelou) by Dave Somerset


Maya(Respect for Maya Angelou) by Dave Somerset

[Maya Angelou was a remarkable, accomplished Poet, performer, activist against oppression, and national and historic figure.

Maya Angelou was raped when she was seven years old
She told only her uncle about it
Two days later the man who molested her was found
He had been kicked to death

In the mind of a seven year old
Her words had caused that man’s death
So she stopped speaking, and
She did not speak for five years

During this time she began to read
She read everything
Rooms full of books
All kinds, but especially poetry

As a man, I was very moved
Thinking about, what she had faced
So young, and up against so much beyond her years
yet in her words she said: “still I rise”

I learned that 1 out 5 girls and 1 out of 20 boys
Have been sexually abused as children
That means there is a lot of hurt, out in the world
And a lot of care and sensitivity is needed

But I have not been seeing that
I have been seeing abusive language and aggressive behavior
Especially to and about women
I can’t help but be uncomfortable

How must someone with Mayas experience feel?
How must my daughter feel?
This is often brushed off by men as
Its swagger, I’m cool, its you

That is dishonest, and does not help women or any of us
Besides being a trigger to terrible memories
this must feel threatening to women.
Maya would wonder if these guys had a heart

They were brought into this world by a woman
And yet have no respect for them
Ungrateful, does not begin to describe it
And that abuse in music and art must also feel a dagger to women and girls

Besides being the father of a daughter
Whats my standing in all this?
When I am in the presence of abuse
I am myself also abused

I don’t think being a man
has much to do with being self-centered
or being a show off and insensitive to others
Nothing to do with possessions, power or control

Being a man, in my view has
A lot to do with being kind and generous
And being Supportive and thoughtful
And most of all respectful of others

[Dave Somerset is an engineer, who holds US and World patents in design and now has a small IT practice. Thought, physics, music, stories and poetry are all lenses that allow him to see meaning in the universe. Outside of technical papers, none of his work has been published, although decades ago he wrote songs and lyrics with friends. He considers himself a better listener than a writer, enjoying all kinds of writing, music and art. He enjoys reading both his own work and those that he admires, at local venues such as open mics. Some of his favorite venues are: The Walnut St Café, Merrimac Mic, The Cellar, Stone Soup, Zumis and White Rose.
He continues to grow in appreciation and understanding of a wide variety of classic and emerging styles in all arts.]