One of the greatest poets in the world, Marguerite Annie Johnson passed away Wednesday morning.
She was 86. Known most by the name Maya Angelou, she was found unresponsive in her Winston-Salem home.
Not only was the St. Louis, MO native a poet, but she was an author, a dancer, actress, motivational speaker as well as many other things.
Even though she is gone her legacy lives on with her words. Here is one of her poems, Phenomenal Woman:
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s sizeBut 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 womanPhenomenally.Phenomenal woman,That’s me.
I walk into a roomJust as cool as you please,And to a man,The fellows stand orFall 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 womanPhenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,That’s me.
Men themselves have wonderedWhat they see in me.They try so muchBut they can’t touchMy 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 womanPhenomenally.Phenomenal woman,That’s me.
Now you understandJust why my head’s not bowed.I don’t shout or jump aboutOr 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 womanPhenomenally.Phenomenal woman,That’s me.
Rest in Peace Ms. Angelou
Bonus: Here is an in depth conversation that Maya Angelou had with Dave Chappelle on an episode of Iconoclasts on IFC below: