Life Doesn’t Frighten Me


Life Doesn’t Frighten Me is a simple, repetitive poem that is written from a child’s perspective, the speaker going over things in her life that she has to overcome to move on.

It is a series of loosely connected images tied up with mostly full end rhymes and a repeated refrain which reinforces the idea that, despite what we encounter in life, we do not have to be afraid.

Maya Angelou published this poem in 1993 and it became the title of the book it appeared in, a collaborative effort with artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. His dark and powerful pictures are loved by many.

The poem remains popular and is a standard work taught in many schools and colleges. The short, lyrical stanzas lend themselves to drama and performance and often they are used for a stage monologue or similar work, where the emotions can surface.

This is in line with Maya Angelou’s general view of life :

‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’

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