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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
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
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
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Short Poem Analysis

"Phenomenal Woman" by Maya Angelou is a powerful and celebratory poem that embraces the speaker's confidence, self-assuredness, and unique beauty. Through its rhythmic language, empowering imagery, and bold self-expression, the poem explores the speaker's embodiment of femininity and the impact she has on others.

The poem's title, "Phenomenal Woman," immediately sets a tone of empowerment and self-pride. The word "phenomenal" suggests something extraordinary and awe-inspiring, underscoring the speaker's sense of self-worth.

Angelou's use of repetition and rhythm in the poem's structure creates a musical and engaging quality. The poem reads almost like a song, with its lively cadence adding to the sense of celebration.

The poem's imagery, such as "the bend of my hair," "the arch of my back," and "the sun of my smile," highlights the speaker's confidence in her physical appearance and the allure she possesses. These images evoke sensuality and self-assuredness.

The poem also emphasizes the speaker's inner strength and resilience. The lines "I say, / It's in the reach of my arms, / The span of my hips, / The stride of my step" convey a sense of confidence that transcends physical attributes.

The repetition of the refrain "Phenomenally" underscores the speaker's assertion of her own exceptional qualities. The repetition serves as a rallying cry, reinforcing the message of self-love and empowerment.

"Phenomenal Woman" is a celebration of self-acceptance, confidence, and the unique beauty that each individual possesses. The poem encourages readers, particularly women, to embrace their own identities and radiate self-assuredness. Through its energetic and affirming language, the poem resonates as a declaration of empowerment, asserting that true beauty comes from within and is a force to be reckoned with.

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