Poetry, Racism, Abuse, Depression, Anxiety, Freedom, Free-will, Stress, Victims, Loneliness, Maya Angelou, Caged Bird, Words

Caged Bird

Novelist, poet, and scholar Maya Angelou expresses her deep feelings about the suffering of African Americans due to slavery and racial discrimination in her poem “Caged Bird”. She contrasts the wonderful freedom of Whites with the enslavement experienced by Blacks through the metaphor of free and caged birds. The fundamental rights of African Americans were taken away and their human existence demoted. Held captive against their will, the only thing caged birds can do is sing a hopeful song of freedom.  

 

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. 

 

Image Credit
Feature: ♥.Lolaa.♥ at Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved