The poem is divided into eight stanzas with each stanza containing four lines (quatrain). Each stanza has an identical rhyme scheme (abcb). The poem is written mostly in iambic tetrameter, though some of the feet actually transition from an iamb to a trochee and back. For example, the second line of the third stanza is a trochee when the daughter says, “Other children will go with me,” obviously referring to the Freedom March. The poem is written in the third person.
The first stanza is spoken by an innocent young girl that assumes a role of maturity with exuberance and youthfulness. The girl wants to participate in a Freedom March in downtown Birmingham rather than play with her friends. The second stanza is spoken by the mother as she rejects the idea of her sweet little girl attending a Freedom March. She tells her daughter she may not go and tells of the ferocious dogs, clubs, hoses, guns, and jail that could possibly await her. The mother paints an accurate picture of the dangers of the Civil Rights Movement.
The third stanza