Phenomenal Woman

Just sneaking this in very late on International Womens’ Day as a note of respect to all the wonderful women who inspire me on a daily basis. My brilliant  mum, my awesome sister, my lovely lovely friends who are so encouraging and enthusiastic, and of course my feisty, independent, awe-inspiring daughters. (Who will either turn out to be the future of the world, or the death of me, or quite possibly both.) And all of the women who have inspired me through their own business and creative efforts – Nansi, Erica, Kayte, Lois, Emma – you girls.
Our t-shirt supplier, Mantis World, was founded by an amazing visionary woman, Prama Bhardwaj, our t-shirts are printed by an female entrepreneur, mum and printing genius Tricia from Cotton Craft, and our fabulous unicorn t-shirt was designed by local artist Nancy Batty. Our clothing is mostly bought for children by mums and grandmas who are keen to support local, independent and ethical businesses. Our business ethic itself is built on the wonderful power of female friendships.
And I can think of no poem better to celebrate today with than the work of a poet who has such an unapologetic, proud sense of what it means to be a woman. The wonderful Maya Angelou. (With thanks to my 6th form English teacher Mrs Ainsworth who introduced me to her.)
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
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 for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

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