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Be the Rainbow in Someone Else’s Cloud

Dr. Maya Angelou, Poet Laureate, speaker, world citizen/elder, lover of life and Phenomenal Woman,* died today. I’m crushed.

I saw her twice and both times she rocked my world. I tend to love moments and then forget the specifics, but points she made have stayed with me years afterward.

The second time I heard her, she had a crowd of mostly students (at Michigan State University). She referenced a 19th-century black song with a lyric “…when it looked like the sun wa’nt gonna shine any more, God put a rainbow in the clouds.”

Here is a powerful 4-minute video of Dr. Angelou. It includes a reference to that song and how we can aim to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.

Listen. Hearing her may change your day. In my case, it changed my life.
Be the Rainbow… Like Maya Angelou.

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*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 for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

___
Maya Angelou, “Phenomenal Woman” from And Still I Rise.
Copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou. Publisher – Random House, Inc.

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