Wednesday, February 09, 2011

The 30-Day Book Meme: Day 16

Day 16 of the 30-Day Book Meme asks me to list my favorite poem or collection of poetry. I'll confess that I don't read a lot of poetry. Not because I don't like it. I do. But because I don't have a lot of poetry collections lying around the house, I tend to forget about it until someone mentions it. Then I wonder why I don't read more poetry and vow to rectify that, and wander around full of good intentions for a few days.

So this question is actually pretty each for me to answer because only one poem came to mind when I read the question. 

Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou. It is, hands down, the most powerful piece of poetry I've read in decades. Every word of it speaks directly to my heart. It's about a strong woman who knows exactly who she is. And she dares every woman on the planet to recognize just how incredible she is. 

And it is a dare. For many of us, it's far too easy to make ourselves small. To hide what makes us great and apologize for who we are. It's much easier to do that than to lift your chin and stride forward in boldness. 

As Marianne Williamson said in Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles," 1992:
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?  Actually, who are you not to be?  You are a child of God.  Your playing small does not serve the world.  There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.  
 And that's exactly what Maya Angelou challenges us--inspires us--to avoid in Phenomenal Woman. Writing this has inspired me to dig out my copy and place it beside my bed. This is a poem every woman should read on a regular basis. 

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