Tag Archives: memory

A Life Well Lived

When I was an awkward 13 year-old ill at ease in my own skin and self-conscious about my eczema scars, this poem changed my life:

Phenomenal Woman- 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.
Capture
Tagged , , , ,

Elegy

I can think of no finer tribute to Maya Angelou than her own words, written for other heroes that have gone before.

“Elegy

For Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass

 

I lay down in my grave

And watch my children

Grow

Proud blooms

Above the weeds of death.

 

Their petals wave

And still nobody

Knows the soft black

Dirt that is my winding

Sheet. The worms, my friends,

Yet tunnel holes in

Bones and through those

Apertures I see the rain,

The sunfelt warmth

Now jabs

Within my space and

Brings me roots of my

Children born.

 

Their seeds must fall

And press beneath

This earth,

And find me where I

Wait. My only need to

Fertilize their birth.

 

I lay down in my grave

And watch my children grow.”

– Maya Angelou (1928-2014)

Tagged , , , , ,

We All Bring Something to the Table

I wrote something more personal than usual, for Open Democracy.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,