The meter of this poem is straightforward. Wheatley writes in iambic pentameter, and her poem is an octave, or set of four couplets. The eight lines rhyme in aabbaabb fashion. In this way, she adheres to popular poetic conventions.
In other ways, however, this poem is not conventional at all. To begin with, the poet herself is an interesting example of a literate slave writing about her own experience prior to the nineteenth century, where we begin to see more of this. The theme of the poem is twofold, and in some sense problematic to the modern eye. Wheatley describes her native Africa as a "Pagan" land wherein her soul was "benighted": she describes her enslavement and passage to America as representing a salvation for her, in that she has been taught about God and a Saviour and redemption she "never sought nor knew" before.
The second half of the octave is an exhortation to Christians to recognize the "sable race" as equally capable of achieving redemption—the poet knows that some view the color as "a diabolic die," marking out "Negros" as "black as Cain." The language evokes Biblical figures of villainy, namely Cain and Satan, as Wheatley knows that, to many, her soul appears as "benighted" as her dark skin.
Wheatley's themes, then, of blackness and of redemption, are entwined, but she also seeks to disentangle them in the eyes of the whites who may meet her. Blackness of the skin, Wheatley says, does not equate to blackness of the soul, and black people too may "join th'angelic train".