Maya Angelou

(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

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.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003
Edited: Monday, August 18, 2014


# 9 poem on top 500 Poems

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  • Rookie Kay Simpson (2/1/2015 2:56:00 PM)

    Beautifully written words. Birds were born with wings but humans want to take there freedom to use them away. Open the cage door and set them free ✌️ (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 0 Points Zola Masembuko (1/29/2015 8:14:00 AM)

    Someone is confused. This poem was written by Paul Laurence Dunbar. Maya Angelou borrowed the title for her autobio. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 666 Points Juwon Daniel (1/12/2015 10:25:00 AM)

    cage bird sings for freedom, sounds great for the finishing, I throw you a kudos. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 780 Points Lubinda Lubinda (12/24/2014 6:21:00 PM)

    Wow, what beautifully written Poetry, freedom is indeed one of those things we take for granted sometimes because we are free but what strikes me the most about this poem is how she depicts illustrates the caged birds song... (Report) Reply

    Rookie miri Ashimi (1/30/2015 7:01:00 AM)

    Thanks it opens up a lot for me !

  • Rookie - 455 Points Abegail Kyla Bilan (12/10/2014 6:09:00 AM)

    It draws a very nice picture in my mind. It opens my heart and gives impact more maybe on the readers. I also get new techniques in writing poems by just reading it and most of all, it's now one of my favorites :)) (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Sharon Kiprono (8/16/2014 5:36:00 PM)

    Im trying to figure out why many people here do not like some of the comments posted by Mayas readers????? (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 75 Points Ishita Chakrabarty (8/15/2014 2:26:00 AM)

    But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams- Yet the bird chirps and sings of freedom, freedom that it can never attain yet hoping just the same :) (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 1,742 Points Hebert Logerie Sr. (5/30/2014 5:49:00 PM)

    Maya, You are now a Free Bird

    African Queen, Afro-American Queen,
    American Queen, Black Queen,
    You are now free, you have escaped,
    You are now crowned, phenomenally draped,
    And beautifully coiffed as a famous Poet,
    Great Lecturer, Mother, Lover, Activist,
    Fighter, Doctor, Nurturer, Philanthropist,
    Philosopher, Engineer of rhymes, and Architect
    Of simple, complicated and powerful words,
    Those are as sharp as our ancestors’ swords.

    You had everything that an amazing woman
    Wanted to possess: pride, confidence, elegance,
    Style, bravery, wit, intelligence, humility and patience.
    You inspired kings, queens, intellectuals and laymen.
    You were, without a doubt, a phenomenal woman,
    A special woman that men and women admired.
    You feared nobody: the racist, the confused, and the liar.
    You feared nothing: weather, water, sand, soil and fire.
    However, you loved everybody: the sick, the weak, and the tired;
    The poor, the homeless, the brave, and the strong.
    Maya, you are now a free bird, please sing the song.
    You have opened the cage, like a bird, you are now free.
    Spread your wings to shower the world with wisdom,
    Love, passion, comprehension, tolerance and liberty.
    Hum again and sing again the beautiful song of freedom.
    African Queen, Afro-American Queen,
    American Queen, Black Queen,
    You have left a phenomenal legacy,
    You will be remembered until eternity.

    Copyright© May 28,2014 Logerie Hébert, All Rights Reserved (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 1,742 Points Hebert Logerie Sr. (5/30/2014 5:47:00 PM)

    Maya, the Singing Caged Bird Left Quietly
    (Poem dedicated to Paul Laurence Dunbar & Maya Angelou)

    The singing caged bird left quietly this morning.
    Everyone is searching for her, everyone is crying.
    It is always a shock when a special person is gone,
    Death always comes like a loose bullet from a gun.
    Death has an eerie way of shocking and torturing us.
    The only person left who knew the beautiful song
    Of the bird has departed. She is now in the arms of Jesus.
    She is now part of the chorus.
    She is using her tongue
    To recite some unforgettable verses to other great poets,
    Who have welcomed her to a joyful oasis of wonders.
    Let’s celebrate the life of this phenomenal woman,
    Let’s sing and pray for our beloved Maya. Amen!

    Copyright© May 28,2014 Logerie Hébert, All Rights Reserved (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 18,689 Points Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (5/29/2014 11:15:00 PM)

    While the world is mourning the death of the great poet Maya Angelou, as a reader having high regard and respect to the poet liked to read and enjoy the great poem with great mission of thoughts and dedicated to the poor all around the world and I experienced a second reading and felt it once more the most interested poem. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 20,658 Points Akhtar Jawad (5/29/2014 9:05:00 PM)

    Maya Angelou is no more but her poems are immortal. This poem does not need appreciation from me. Everyone knows Maya and her poems. (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 1,151 Points Elena Sandu (5/29/2014 8:02:00 PM)

    Lighting a candle
    Trying to send one tiny sparkle
    of gratitude to Maya Angelou, a star
    that shared its light on earth
    for a little while. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 461 Points Ramesh T A (5/29/2014 3:53:00 PM)

    What a contrast between free bird and caged bird! The contrast between them is wonderfully compared in this clear poem by Maya Angelou! (Report) Reply

Read all 244 comments »

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