Friday, November 16, 2007

Another Poem


I am a woman
and that is part of me.

The roundness of my body
and of my soul
and of my love.

I am a woman
and that is with me.

The softness of my touch
and of my caring
and of my eyes.

I am a woman
and that is from me.

The strength of my mind
and of my feeling
and of my word.

I am a woman
and that is all of me.

The giving of my roundness
and of my softness
and of my strength.

I am a woman
and that

Maya Angelou, I'm not. When I wrote that poem, I loved it. Most of my poetry had been pretty negative and pain-filled. So to write something pretty self-affirming was a huge thing for me. I felt good about it.

Then a few years later I came across Maya Angelou's poems "Phenomenal Woman," and "And Still I Rise," and I knew that I had a lot to learn about writing poetry. I still do.

by Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies
I'm not cute or built to suit a model's fashion 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 steps
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 of 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 for my care.
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman
That's me.

Still I Rise
by Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.


Ros said...

I LOVE "Still I Rise", I've wanted to choreograph to it for years.

The Bear Maiden said...

Don't be so hard on yourself, friend. Your poems are pretty good. CERTAINLY not the worst I've heard. And Maya Angelou is pretty good... but she's not Big Bear, who I think is the greatest poet in the world, so there.... ;)

And congrats for posting them, cuz I know it took guts.