The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.
~ Sam Levenson
I’ll admit with a bowed head that I haven’t given as much attention to poetry, as a genre, as I should. Yet there are a few poems that were so inspiring that they’ve stayed with me and I often draw strength from them. One such poem is the powerful ode to women written by Maya Angelou, “Phenomenal Woman.” It is a gorgeous, lyrical poem that celebrates what makes a woman truly beautiful. When I heard about the Beauty of a Woman Blogfest, via writer Misty Dietz, I knew I had to be part of it.
The Beauty of a Woman Blogfest, hosted by August McLaughlin, is designed to celebrate our vastly diverse definitions of what makes a woman beautiful. The blogfest is inspired by a poem by Sam Levenson of the same name, with which I wasn’t familiar, but is now among my favorites. My focus for this post is Levenson’s words above.
We can all appreciate the outer beauty of a woman who is pleasing to the eye because she meets the “traditional” standard of beauty. However, while people are drawn to a pretty face, it isn’t enough to make them hang around. Rather, it is a beauty that resides much deeper within that draws us to people and makes us want to stick to them, love them, and support them. A beauty of spirit.
I’ve been fortunate to know many amazing women in my life who are truly, and deeply beautiful. Women who offer to hop a plane and support me through an emotional crisis, even when doing so creates a hardship for her. Women who don’t except my dutiful responses to tough questions, and support me even when they don’t like my honest answer. Women who see what is truly amazing about me, even when I’ve lost sight of it myself.
That is what makes a woman–a girlfriend, a sister, a mother, a fellow writer–truly beautiful.
Having such beautiful women in my life makes me a better person, one who wants to support other women in the same way. So thank you to all of the phenomenal women in my life, and to those who support women everywhere.
As for Maya Angelou’s poem, “Phenomenal Woman,” no-one could render her words quite like the woman herself. Enjoy!