Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Annie Johnson on April 4, 1938. At the age of 8, she was sexually abused and raped by the boyfriend of her mother causing her to become mute for almost five years. She wrote several books throughout her life and became an established poet. She died on May 28, 2014. Her poetry is still revered today. No stranger to hardship, she wrote the poem, "Still I Rise" which is one that is famous about having to get back up again after being knocked down by life.
William Ernest Henley
William Ernest Henley was born on August 23, 1849, and lived to July 11, 1903. At the age of 12, Henley suffered from tuberculosis of the bone which ended in the amputation of his leg and knee in the time frame from 1868 to 1869. The poem he is mostly known for is "Invictus" which is Latin for "unconquerable" which he wrote when he was in isolation when he was in the hospital with tuberculosis. He died of tuberculosis in 1903 at 53 years old.
Requiem by Megan Fricke
I walked out into the shadows into the depths of night.
The cats were howling at the moon with their gaze oh so tight.
Fixated on the despair, I lost touch with the hope inside.
And into the jaded night my soul cried.
The rain fell like hot springs in a parched desert.
Tears fell into mud puddles with the weather of life and its dirt.
Caught up in a cloud of sadness and defeat,
I blew the dust off my body and looked for life in me that would not deplete.
The stars were shining like the eyes of God in the sky.
I looked to the heavens above and said, "Why God? Why?"
I put one foot in front of the other and trudged on.
In the opera of life this was only one song.
Differences Among the Poems
Maya Angelou uses a ton of similes. Almost every stanza is filled with at least one if not more. William Henly is more prone to the use of metaphors like when in his poem it mentions a "Black Pit". He wasn't really in a black pit, although he is expressing feeling like he is in one. Megan Fricke uses both similes and at least one metaphor. "Tears fell like hot springs in a parched desert" and "the stars are shining like the eyes of God in they sky" are similes that portray visual imagery. Yet, at end there is a metaphor when the poems says, "in the opera of life this was only one song". All the poems carry the common theme of feeling real despair. However, they also display getting back up again as May Angelou says, "Still I Rise", Henly says,, "My soul is unconquerable" and Megan Fricke says, "I put one foot in front of the other and trudged on."
Getting Back Up Again
In conclusion, all three of these poems were written by different people from different time zones about getting down trodden with life and having to get back up again and try again. Although the first two poets are well known, the third poet Megan Fricke is a modern poet. The title of the poem is "Requiem" which means funeral song. It appears to be about some type of failure or death of something in life and having to get back up again and try again. It is the common theme in all of these poems.
Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on April 29, 2017:
Requiem is a powerful poem. I enjoyed reading that. I do love Maya Angelou's poetry too. She was so talented. I had no idea she was abused when she was young.