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Body-Positive Poems

5 Powerful Poems that Celebrate the Female Form

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. For women, this is a time to consider your own breast health* as well as a time that brings on a heightened appreciation for our own female bodies. It’s a reminder of their magic, their beauty, and their strength. Whether you have fought your own battle with breast cancer or watched someone close to you struggle, the resilience and power of the body is a force to be celebrated.

 

With the body-positive movement reminding us to love and cherish our bodies no matter their size or shape, what better way to celebrate the female form than with poetry.

 

(*Disclaimer: Although this blog post is about women and the female form, we recognize that breast cancer affects everyone, including people who do not identify as female)

 

“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
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

 

“Tell Your Daughters”

Tell your daughters how you love your body.
Tell them how they must love theirs.
Tell them to be proud of every bit of themselves—
from their tiger stripes to the soft flesh of their thighs,
whether there is a little of them or a lot,
whether freckles cover their face or not,
whether their curves are plentiful or slim,
whether their hair is thick, curly, straight, long or short.
Tell them how they inherited
their ancestors, souls in their smiles,
that their eyes carry countries
that breathed life into history,
that the swing of their hips
does not determine their destiny.
Tell them never to listen when bodies are critiqued.
Tell them every woman’s body is beautiful
because every woman’s soul is unique.”

Nikita Gill

 

“homage to my hips”

these hips are big hips
they need space to
move around in.
they don’t fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don’t like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top!

Lucille Clifton

 

Listen to Lucille read and speak about this poem here.

 

when you make love you try to
bury yourself beneath the sheets
but the stretch marks you try to hide
are proof you’ve survived
your breasts are mountains not everyone
know how to climb
the goddess between
your legs is the world
on their tongue
she makes mouths water
your femininity is so right
like craters and waterfalls
there are few things on
this side of the universe
crafted with such excellence
you just so happen
to be one of them

Rupi Kaur

 

“The Body Is Not An Apology” by Sonya Renee

 

Excerpt:
The body is not a crime; is not a gun.
The body is not a spill to be contained.
It is not a lost set of keys, a wrong number dialed.
It is not the orange burst of blood to shame white dresses.
The body is not an apology.