Ain't I a Woman!

Ain't I a Woman!

by Maya Angelou

That man over there say
a woman needs to be helped into carriages
and lifted over ditches
and to have the best place everywhere.
Nobody ever helped me into carriages
or over mud puddles
or gives me a best place...

And ain't I a woman?
Look at me
Look at my arm!
I have plowed and planted
and gathered into barns
and no man could head me...
And ain't I a woman?
I could work as much
and eat as much as a man--
when I could get to it--
and bear the lash as well
And ain't I a woman?
I have born 13 children
and seen most all sold into slavery
and when I cried out a mother's grief
none but Jesus heard me...
and ain't I a woman?
that little man in black there say
a woman can't have as much rights as a man
cause Christ wasn't a woman
Where did your Christ come from?
From God and a woman!
Man had nothing to do with him!
If the first woman God ever made
was strong enough to turn the world
upside down, all alone
together women ought to be able to turn it
rightside up again.

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Miscellany


Other poems by Maya Angelou (read randomly)


The highway is full of big cars
going nowhere fast
And folks is smoking anything that'll burn

You drink a bitter draught.
I sip the tears your eyes fight to hold
A cup of lees, of henbane steeped in chaff.

One innocent spring
your voice meant to me
less than tires turning

When you come to me, unbidden,
Beckoning me
To long-ago rooms,

Curtains forcing their will
against the wind,
children sleep,

There is no warning rattle at the door
nor heavy feet to stomp the foyer boards.
Safe in the dark prison, I know that

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s siz …
But when I start to tell them,

A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon,

I keep on dying again.
Veins collapse, opening like the
Small fists of sleeping

Some clichty folks
don't know the facts,
posin' and preenin'

We were entwined in red rings
Of blood and loneliness before
The first snows fell

I keep on drying again.
Veins collapse, opening like the
Small fists of sleeping

When I was young, I used to
Watch behind the curtains
As men walked up and down the street. Wino men, old

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