by Maya Angelou
Analysis: Sex Rating
Exactly how steamy is this poem?
Implicit in this poem is an understanding of the brutal sexual violence that was part of the African slave trade. Angelou doesn't go into much detail here, but when she describes the way that "brigands" "took all her daughters," the word "took" takes on many sinister meanings. After all, the slave trade continued for so many years partially because black women were raped – and their children were sold on the slave market.