Phenomenal


Here we are again.

We are back to another day devoted to odes being sung to their courage and patience; to their tenacity and perseverance; to their indomitability and resilience.

Yes, Women’s Day is here.

There will again be a cacophony of strident voices- some belligerent; some reasonable; some thoughtful. The blog-sphere will again be flooded with a plethora of posts. It will again turn into a feast.

Once the crescendo is over, women will go back to their uncelebrated lives. They will again resume chipping bits off their soul to fit into their designated slots. They will again go back to their unvoiced despair; the despair that whispers to them, reminding them of their inadequacies, deriding them for their effort to BE.

The world that is proud to devote one day to lauding them is the same world which teaches them to be subdued and reticent. It teaches them to accept second place. It pours down their unwilling throats the realization that unless they accept that place they have no place at all. It rubs into their consciousness the fact that the justice of a fair chance will never be for them. What amazes me is that they accept it. The few that protest are ‘disciplined’ into acceptance by those who have already accepted that second place. Women, in case you didn’t notice, are a self-governed body. They know how to punish their rebels and they do it effectively. If one could dispassionately and objectively study one’s own execution, one would say the process is beautiful in its perfection.

It is interesting to find out how this is perfect programming is implemented. It works flawlessly with no supervision and no tweaking required. One admires the precision and thoroughness of an operation which is seamlessly spontaneous and ostensibly non-deliberate. Superlatives fail to express one’s wonder at this phenomenon.

It is evil to murder a man but imagine the evil of selling him suicide as an act of virtue..!

Yet this is how the infernal machine works. Women are sold the idea of a second place as an unalterable benchmark of virtue. They then spend their lives trying to beat each other in this race to virtuosity. All the world needs to be is to throw them a Women’s Day once a year. What could be more perfect than that?

I re- read this poem each time I need a reminder of who I am. I also read it every Women’s Day.

To get the full impact of this awesome piece, click on the title and hear Maya Angelou recite this in her vibrant voice. I promise you, this is one click you will cherish. I do.

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
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 of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Maya Angelou

If you heard Maya Angelou recite this poem, did you hear the note of pride in her voice? Did you feel the ‘sun of her smile’ warming your heart? Did her ‘not talking real loud’ fill you quietly with serene confidence?

To me, this poem is the key to silencing the storm of lacerating questions that rise in me each year this day. To me, true celebration of women is to have women KNOW this poem as a truth that runs in their veins.

The day women know themselves to be phenomenalwill perhaps be the day we will have celebrated Women’s Day. That is the day they will say:

Phenomenal Woman, That’s ME..!

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