Maya Angelou

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An acclaimed American poet, storyteller, activist, and autobiographer, Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Johnson in St. Louis, Missouri. Angelou had a broad career as a singer, dancer, actress, composer, and Hollywood’s first female black director, but became most famous as a writer, editor, essayist, playwright, and poet. As a civil rights activist, Angelou worked for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. She was also an educator and served as the Reynolds professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University. By 1975, wrote Carol E. Neubauer in Southern Women Writers: The New Generation, Angelou was recognized “as a spokesperson for… all people who are committed to raising the moral standards of living in the United States.” She served on two presidential committees, for Gerald Ford in 1975 and for Jimmy Carter in 1977. In 2000, Angelou was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Bill Clinton. In 2010, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the U.S., by President Barack Obama. Angelou was awarded over 50 honorary degrees before her death. Source

Life Doesn't Frighten Me

Shadows on the wall 

Noises down the hall 

Life doesn't frighten me at all 

  

Bad dogs barking loud 

Big ghosts in a cloud 

Life doesn't frighten me at all 

  

Mean old Mother Goose 

Lions on the loose 

They don't frighten me at all 

  

Dragons breathing flame 

On my counterpane 

That doesn't frighten me at all. 

  

I go boo 

Make them shoo 

I make fun 

Way they run 

I won't cry 

So they fly 

I just smile 

They go wild 

  

Life doesn't frighten me at all. 

  

Tough guys fight 

All alone at night 

Life doesn't frighten me at all. 

  

Panthers in the park 

Strangers in the dark 

No, they don't frighten me at all. 

  

That new classroom where 

Boys all pull my hair 

(Kissy little girls 

With their hair in curls) 

They don't frighten me at all. 

  

Don't show me frogs and snakes 

And listen for my scream, 

If I'm afraid at all 

It's only in my dreams. 

  

I've got a magic charm 

That I keep up my sleeve 

I can walk the ocean floor 

And never have to breathe. 

  

Life doesn't frighten me at all 

Not at all 

Not at all. 

  

Life doesn't frighten me at all.

Published:

1993

Length:

Regular

Literary Movements:

Black Arts Movement

Anthology Years:

2022

2023

Themes:

Doubt & Fear

Strength & Resilience

Literary Devices:

Alliteration

the repetition of the same letter or sound at the beginning of words appearing in succession

End Rhyme

when a poem has lines ending with words that sound the same

Repetition

a recurrence of the same word or phrase two or more times

Tercet

A stanza of three lines of verse that rhyme together or are connected by rhyme with an adjacent stanza.