#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 21

Day 21 – Would Give as a Gift:

I would definitely give The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou as a gift.  This collection nourishes and comforts the soul.  The late great Dr. Maya Angelou was a woman wise beyond her years. IMG_1465 She is so terribly missed.  Most of her life was spent supporting and teaching humanity the hard lessons of living life to the fullest and well.  You won’t be able to resist picking this book up all throughout your life for inspiration and encouragement.  I love and refer back to it regularly.  It fills me with so much emotion.  This hardcover edition is the perfect gift because it’s beautifully published with its colorful dust jacket.

 

 

Maya Angelou a Phenomenal Woman

I was reading when a notification popped up on my iPad.  It read “Maya Angelou dead at 86”.  I dropped everything in search of the article.  I just couldn’t believe it.  I still can’t believe it.  Maya Angelou will be greatly missed.  I heard someone say “My black feminist heart is weeping.”  I couldn’t have said it better myself.  Maya Angelou was a jack of all trades, but most of all inspiration for everyone.  Her quotes give advice on love, liberation, freedom, women, men, education, and on many other dilemmas of life.  She will live on through these quotes, her poems, and novels.  I can say I was one of the lucky ones to have had the pleasure to see and hear this intelligent, wise beyond centuries woman speak in person.  I remember how captivated the audience was when she spoke.  The air was light and our spirits were lifted.  The silence in the room was devoted to that special moment of sharing her poetry, her expression.  I’ll never forget it.  As a tribute to Maya Angelou writer, poet, educator, actor, director, producer,  historian, activist, playwright, and….

PHENOMENAL WOMAN

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size       Maya-Angelou
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.

Maya Angelou

Still I Rise

I’m still celebrating  National Poetry Month with another one of my favorite poems by Maya Angelou.  Scroll down to the video to hear her reciting Still I Rise with her luscious, mesmerizing voice.  Enjoy and recite or publish your favorite poems this month.

Still I Rise

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.

Maya Angelou

It’s National Poetry Month

I had no idea but found out that April is National Poetry Month, after reading The Daily Post today.  Apparently it has gone on since 1996 and was started by the Academy of American Poets. Here are the goals for National Poetry Month, that I found on a site called poets.org

  • “Highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets”
  • “Introduce more Americans to the pleasures of reading poetry”
  • “Bring poets and poetry to the public in immediate and innovative ways”
  • “Make poetry a more important part of the school curriculum”
  • “Increase the attention paid to poetry by national and local media”
  • “Encourage increased publication, distribution, and sales of poetry books” (poets.org)

Here are some ways you can celebrate National Poetry month.  You could memorize a poem, host a poetry reading, start a poetry reading group, put some poetry in an unexpected place, read poetry to family and friends, put a poem in a letter, etc.  We should all be honoring poetry and American poets.  So here’s how I’m celebrating by publishing one of my favorite poems from Maya Angelou.  Enjoy!

Phenomenal Woman

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.

Maya Angelou