Jan 20th, 2017-Life Doesn’t Frighten Me

We just started our poetry unit with the 6th graders.  Ironically the poems we begin with are about our kid fears.  Shel Silverstein’s Whatif and Maya Angelou’s Life Doesn’t Frighten Me are great examples of how authors use their words to convey the simplicities of life that make life so complicated.  And they are also examples of how a poems universal theme can be so relevant regardless of the day and age.

Shel Silverstein’s words rolled over and over in my head last night as I lay awake in the wee hours:

Last night, while I lay thinking here,
Some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
And pranced and partied all night long
And sang their same old Whatif song:

But instead of a list of kid fears, my list of fears were much more dark and sinister.  The comparisons of history’s past to the frightening present would not release their grip from my conscience.

Eventually I feel asleep to awake to a new day, but it is a day that is full of dread and uncertainty.  I, like Maya Angelou in Life Doesn’t Frighten Me, am trying to reassure myself that there is nothing to be afraid of.  Yet, I can’t make the fear stop.  I can’t ease the pain in my gut.


What does one do when they feel helpless?  I usually write.  I take action. Putting one line down, taking that first step, keeps me from slipping into the abyss of my dark anxieties.

Here is my riff on Maya Angelou’s poem; my protest.

January 20th, 2017-Life Doesn’t Frighten Me at All

His orange face on my Facebook page
My friends all shoutin’ and showin’ rage
Life doesn’t frighten me at all

Mad men talkin’ nonsense
Painful readin’ their comments
Life doesn’t frighten me at all

Mean old Putin ridin’ ponies
Cabinet filled with a bunch of phonies
They don’t frighten me at all

This is real!
What’s the big deal?
This is fear!
Gonna shed a tear?
This is fake!
Ooo, I shake!
This is wrong!
Obama is gone!

Life doesn’t frighten me at all.

Racists on the prowl
Buildin’ walls with a trowl.
No, that doesn’t frighten me at all.

Republicans slash and burn
Can I ever return?
Life doesn’t frighten me at all.

That new White House where
Twitter posts are flared
They don’t frighten me at all.

Boys will be boys
He plays with girls like toys
He doesn’t frighten me at all.

Don’t explain with feelings
How he’s going to give you your dreams,
He’s only doing this to
Line his pockets full of greens.

So, I cling on to the Hope
That I have deep inside
Democracy will win the day
And freedom will preside.

Life doesn’t frighten me at all
Not at all
Not at all.

Life doesn’t frighten me at all.


How will you protest today?  What poems give you comfort in dark times?

4 replies

  1. Thanks for the poem. My go-to poem for dark days is Psalm 121. Garrison Keillor also has a collection called Good Poems for Hard Times. It isn’t so much a collection of consolation poems as it is just reminding us that we’re not alone through high-quality poems.

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