Poetry | Caged Bird by Maya Angelou

Elliott Erwitt - Paris, 1949 BW birds

“All great artists draw from the same resource: the human heart, which tells us all that we are more alike than we are unalike.” ~ Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter

Caged Bird By Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

A free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wing
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 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.
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.

 

Caged Bird by Maya Angelou, courtesy of The Poetry Foundation

Image: Elliott Erwitt – Paris, 1949

“I write about being a Black American woman, however, I am always talking about what it’s like to be a human being. This is how we are, what makes us laugh, and this is how we fall and how we somehow, amazingly, stand up again.” ~ Maya Angelou
Listen to Maya Angelou read the opening of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, here. The unabridged audio is available from Hachette Audio UK:

 

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Comments

  1. Jesse Yusufu says

    I am finding this site very interesting. I think artists are more like creators. They interpret our world in a very interesting way. They make us see our world, with a clear mind. I have a friend who is an artist. We have been together for more than 5 years now. Each time she draws an illustration, it reminds of God’s creative nature.

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