Friday, February 18, 2011

A poem that means a lot to someone in honor of Black History month

Martha note: I'm the editor of WMRA’s Civic Soapbox, and  Hilary White Holladay ,who teaches African American Literature at James Madison University, had what I thought was a great idea. She suggested that the last two Civic Soapboxes of Black History Month feature her students reading poems that are meaningful to them. And so here is poem # 1, offered to honor all the contributions of persons of color to our nations history.

My name is Vanessa Dunn, and I chose "Phenomenal Woman" by Maya Angelou. I was in the 12th grade and we each had to chose a poem to read for our school poetry reading.  I thought this was the perfect poem. Our  society focuses on beauty on lot, and I think that this poem means being a woman is more than just beauty. We are unique in our own way. It's our personalities and what they have to offer to the world.
"Phenomenal Woman" by 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
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. 
--Vanessa Dunn is from Sperryville in  Rappahannock County. She attends James Madison University, where she's studying Inclusive Early Childhood  Education.

1 comment:

  1. This poem speaks to all women and answers that part of our culture that considers only a single kind of beauty. I loved it; thank you