Phenomenal Woman

Last night when I heard this, I had a tear in my eye and for a moment held my breath, as if time stopped. You know when you hear, something, that resonates deeply within yourself. Anyhow, it’s no small thing to hear the truth. (So grateful for my UU Women for sharing this.) Dr. Angelou’s words penetrate through layers of shame. Today, I’ll walk a little straighter, a little taller and hold my shoulders back. I wonder, where did my swagger go? Some deep conditioning, likely from many generations, to cover up and hide my sensual, sexual nature. As the poet who wrote ‘Layers’ said, “I’m not done with my changes.” May we all find courage to embody the divine feminine as best we can today.

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
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 of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/phenomenal-woman-by-maya-angelou

Our Lady. Our Friend.

Repost of poem by Jeff Foster on occasion of Notre Dame cathedral fire

OUR LADY. OUR FRIEND.

We stand on sacred ground today.

Perhaps even more sacred

than yesterday’s ground.

I don’t know.

She outgrew her old form, she did.

She couldn’t be contained by her own form.

She is now bigger than she was

(Don’t trust your eyes completely my love).

See her now, ascended in fire!

Let your heart break, but let her go.

She was ready.

She wanted God

more than she wanted herself.

Our Lady. Our friend.

Returned to sky. Returned to ground.

Look under your feet. There she is.

Look into your heart. There she is.

Look into your memory. There she is.

Look everywhere

except where she once stood.

Even God’s houses must crumble.

Impermanence is the law,

rendering everything sacred

even before the sanctification.

It hurts. It hurts, I know.

But it hurts even more to hold on.

Our Lady. Our friend.

All the prayers you held!

The hopes and dreams of untold millions.

Mothers. Lovers. Fathers. Children.

All the secrets. The tears and the sorrow.

All delivered today in fire.

They say you are just a building,

but aren’t we all.

Destruction. Rebirth.

Water and flame.

The loss and the reconstruction.

The hope and the despair.

And this poor human heart,

trying to make sense of it all.

We stand on sacred ground today.

Perhaps even more sacred

than yesterday’s ground.

I don’t know.

Goodbye, my friend.

– Jeff Foster

This eulogy of sorts moved me deeply. Follow Jeff Foster on Instagram or Facebook for beautiful words that have a way of expressing universal truths about our humanness and Supreme Reality. Yes, we outgrow our form. Destruction. Rebirth. The loss and reconstruction. The glorious and the wretched. Impermanence. What remains is that which is essential and boundless. She’s free.