Poetry Sunday: Caged Bird by Maya Angelou

When our kids were little, we had parakeets. They were lovely birds and fun to watch, but at some point, I couldn't bear to have a caged bird anymore. Perhaps it was because I had read Maya Angelou's poem.  

Caged Bird

by Maya Angelou 

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

Comments

  1. My word, this is wonderful. And when you combine the words with the poet, so utterly poignant. I had never read it before, Dorothy, so I owe you for bringing it to me.

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    Replies
    1. It makes me happy to hear that I introduced you to it.

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  2. A poem of power. I admit to keeping caged birds at some points of my life. Not for years, though. And recently, I read a blog post about birds in Singapore kept in tiny cages by humans who belonged to bird singing clubs. The human owners would get together and socialize, and the birds would sing in their tiny cages. Now I know the songs they sung.

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    Replies
    1. It just hurts my heart to think of those birds in their tiny cages.

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  3. Beautiful and powerful. It applies to so many situations, doesn't it?

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  4. I love this poem by the amazingly gifted Maya Angelou. Thank you, Dorothy, for sharing today. Be blessed!

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  5. So good. After reading, I don't know if I could ever after caged bird after this.

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  6. Such a classic poem! I love Maya Angelou. :)

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