The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Phenomenal Woman

Photo: Take a moment and listen to Dr. Maya Angelou read her unforgettable poem "Phenomenal Woman”:

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


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

According to her website: “Dr. Maya Angelou is a remarkable Renaissance woman who is hailed as one of the great voices of contemporary literature. As a poet, educator, historian, best-selling author, actress, playwright, civil-rights activist, producer and director, she continues to travel the world, spreading her legendary wisdom. Within the rhythm of her poetry and elegance of her prose lies Angelou’s unique power to help readers of every orientation span the lines of race. Angelou captivates audiences through the vigor and sheer beauty of her words and lyrics.”


When I first read this poem by octogenarian cultural icon Maya Angelou, I was moved by the unabashed struttin’ her stuff way she expressed her confidence in the woman she had become when once upon a time, she may have had her doubts. Like every woman I know, full of accomplishment, fire and passion, piss and vinegar, it is possible that these words reinforced her desire to live full out. I hung it up in my bathroom and read it every day and then when I renovated the room, down came the paper tacked up onto the wall. The words are emblazoned on my heart nevertheless. I remind myself often that my place in the world is only limited by my willingness to name it and claim it. Fear sometimes rattles my cage. (an allusion to Angelou’s class I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings) “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.”


I shared the poem last night at a women’s support group that I facilitate at a substance abuse treatment center and asked each one to take a paragragh to read out loud and some amazing revelations came to light as a result. The women laughed knowingly and were able to begin to accept their phenomenal-ability. They knew that they were not ‘there’ yet, but were willing to rise to the challenge of self love that may have evaded them before.

What is YOUR very own personal sonic expression?

Mine is varied, with tones and notes that dip and soar. It is sometimes loud and rowdy, sometimes whispery and ever so quiet, that you need to listen with the ears of the heart to take it in. Sometimes I am jumping up and down boisterous in my expression of it and other times, still and silent, barely moving, lest I disturb my own serenity.  Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou




  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Cass Forkin

    I am a phenomenal dancing soul in a beautiful woman’s body.

    • Edie Weinstein, MSW, LSW

      Yes you are! Glad to be dancing along with you <3

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