I love poetry. It is one of my favorite forms of literature and spoken word.
It is always breathtaking to me to hear a poet read their own words. To hear the inflection the use and the words they stress as they try you to understand the meaning behind their work.
One of my favorite poets would have to be Dr. Maya Angelou.
The two poems in the title of this post are two of my favorites. They inspire me to be a better woman.
Phenomenal woman speaks to all women. It speaks to the power you possess and how you should carry yourself as to exhibit that power.
If you look up the word phenomenal it means: remarkable, exceptional, extraordinary, incredible, unbelievable and stunning.
That is powerful if you change phenomenal with any of those words yet, phenomenal encompasses them all.
I shall rise speaks to humans as a whole both men and women. It talks about the resiliency of the human spirit and now matter how low we get we can rise. The part that speaks to my soul in this piece is the part about the long night and in the morning we look at people and say I’m fine. We all do it. Even if we’re not, we say we’re fine. That is actually a running joke in my family, no matter what, we are always fine.
Dr Angelou and I are very different. I am light skinned, she was dark skinned. She was a college professor, poet, activist, pulitizer prize and Grammy winner, she received the Presidental medal of freedom. I am a high school graduate with a degree in the school of life. I have an important job for my community but I never achieve any of the honors she did.
She was phenomenal in her way and I like to think that I am in mine. I got the chance to speak with her once on the telephone when I worked as a librarian. I was asking her for a copy of one of her poems to give away at a Black History program. When the package arrived, there were two poems. One to give away and one for me.
No one knows until now that I have it. It is safely tucked away.
I was in a Barnes and Noble in the same city she was in the day she transitioned from this life. I had gotten me a cup of coffee and was sitting there when I heard the news. I cried, a friend had left. As I sat there wiping my tears, all I could think was the caged bird was free and oh what a song she must be singing.