Maya Angelou

(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)

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I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
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368 person liked.
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Comments about this poem (I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou )

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  • Jennifer Hodge (2/18/2011 8:29:00 PM)

    a beautiful poem and a beautiful poetist...To me the caged bird sings what it feels in its heart; what it has experienced. The enjoyment of soaring in the sun and swaying in the trees. He sings with joy and he is happy and at peace with the world and himself even in a cage, he rejoices. (Report) Reply

  • Jacob Clinansmith (9/13/2010 11:14:00 PM)

    From this poem i learn that the author feels like a part of her is left behind a cage and hidden, and the other half of her is free and shows. She wants to show her other hal but her wing are 'clipped' and her 'feet are tied'. This poem shows me that she wants all of what is inside of her but she cant seem to show all of herself because she feels like part of her is stuck behind a cage. One question i asked ofthe text was why exactly does the caged bid sing? The answer i found to that question was singing is the only way the caged bird can be heard. Another question i aske of the text is how is this poem autobiagrphical? Th poem is autobiagraphical because the author is talking about how she truely feels inside. (Report) Reply

  • Jeff Clinansmith (9/12/2010 9:45:00 PM)

    I think that this poem is very true, it reflects how the bird trapped in the cage knows that there is more to life outside of his prison but he doesn't know what it is. And he longs for the freedom to go out and find out what it is in the world that he is missing. The free bird is enjoying the freedom, and maybe even is taking his freedom for granted a little.

    Igor i agree with you, freedom is the biggest happiness in the world (Report) Reply

  • Roberto Echanes (8/5/2010 11:11:00 PM)

    Natasha's comment is right on target. There are two contrasts: one bird is free and can do whatever he pleases, the other bird is surrounded by his 'bars of rage' in complete captivity. 'His wings are clipped and his feet are tied'. So the bird can only imagine what freedom might be outside, and he's got only his song to express his dashed hopes for freedom. The poem is an allegory for the enslavement of the black people who clamor for freedom but remain under the yoke of the white people. The birds are a personified metaphor for master and slave, and Maya Angelou foregrounds this facts to make people conscious of the predicament of racial discrimination and slavery in the past in American history. The poem ends on a pessimistic note in the last stanza as the speaker declares 'a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams' to signify that freedom is just a dead dream that might never be accomplished. In a way it still holds true as until now racial discrimination is a festering wound in our society. (Report) Reply

  • Benton Pratt (6/11/2010 9:14:00 PM)

    This is a song from a band called Have Heart that wrote a song based on the poem.

    On The Bird In The Cage

    My girl, my girl, tell me why you look so sad
    Has the sun finally set on us?
    Have you come to long for another's hand?
    There's a feeling inside me that something's leaving.
    Like someone stealing salt from sea.
    Left me sinking and left me thinking
    How to keep you caged with me

    Because I need you like air I breathe
    Just to hold you.
    Oh, I hold you.
    Oh, how I hold you.
    I hold you down.

    Down with my insecurities.
    Down with my hypocrisy.
    Down with my pathetic pleas.
    Down instead of setting you free.
    To find your happiness with or without me.

    So untie your feat, reattach your wings
    So you don't have to open your throat to sing.

    Because if it's you I love, then from you...
    I'd walk away.

    And your face:
    On every leaf
    Of every branch
    Of every tree.

    Not the same idea as the original poem, but i think its good nonetheless. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 726 Points Hans Vr (5/14/2010 8:06:00 AM)

    Stirs up emotion.
    Regret I ever had a canary in a cage
    But meaning reaches far beyond.

    Wonderful me.

    Let us pray for all these humans who are not free
    Who have been enprisoned for so long
    Let us hope God is still giving them a song,
    a song that can be heard
    Like the song of the caged bird.

    No matter how few the things we have,
    If freedom is ours,
    Let us give thanks,
    Thanks to our Creator
    and enjoy every day.

    Hans (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 726 Points Joan Joseph (3/6/2010 5:47:00 PM)

    Beautiful! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Liberating! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 726 Points Abhinav Baruah (2/26/2010 8:57:00 AM)

    listening the song of the caged bird reinforced the strong belief that only physique can be trapped not mind and soul... from across the ocean we are hearing the free flowing song of this caged (?) bird..... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 726 Points Sean Colliver-foster (1/27/2010 9:19:00 AM)

    Natasha I think you are spot on with your comment I strongly agree with you. This could actually fit as lyrics to a Bob Marley song. Right on Sister Maya! Power to the minority.

    Its been a long time coming! ! ! ! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 726 Points Natasha Phillips (1/22/2010 3:37:00 PM)

    this poem leads me to think of an enslaved african.......... what says u ppl? what comes to mind when reading this poem? ? ? ? (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 726 Points Hanna Holmes (12/8/2009 10:48:00 AM)

    Background knowledge about any subject will hinder the ignorant critic. As they say, 'It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.'


    I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is the 1969 autobiography about the early years of African-American writer and poet Maya Angelou. The first in a six-volume series, it is a coming-of-age story that illustrates how strength of character and a love of literature can help overcome racism and trauma. In the course of Caged Bird, Maya transforms from a victim of racism with an inferiority complex into a self-possessed, dignified young woman capable of responding to prejudice. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 726 Points Caiden J (11/28/2009 5:35:00 AM)

    I don't think she meant it literally, like many interpret it to be. Many people are held victim to circumstance or the vicissitudes of life and can no longer find the will to make it past the threshold. They are caged birds in mind and spirit, thus trapped within their reality. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 726 Points David Kostanty (10/30/2009 12:51:00 PM)

    I think it is time for 'Doctor' Angelou to mature spiritually and accept responsibility for creating her own reality. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 447 Points Mark Buford (10/12/2009 11:06:00 PM)

    To Don Maker: I think MA is saying she knows why the caged bird sings, as well. Your comments are cynical in my opinion and narrow. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 447 Points Louie -Love & Peace- Levy (10/5/2009 1:26:00 PM)

    Dear Maya, We have kindred kind spirits for Birds, My having never forgotten my mother hand feeding her feathered friends from a small 4th story window-sill. I have some small, medium and large back yard bird feeders. No Caste conflict be tolerated. I even have a Squirrel enclosed feeder where there is no need to steel from their bird friends. Love Doves prove their Love, they share with all whom are smaller, without greed. Your poem for them is exquisite. I feel though, that maybe they sing of freedom or for their birth right for it.? Did you know that there are some minor typos to be edited, I am a nit picker so please know that it's possible through the Manage Comments tool bar. I've made this poem one of my favorites. Ratings are impossible to judge anything from heart and not a 1-10 fickle head.
    Thanx, ...louie (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 447 Points Masike Malatji (7/20/2009 5:49:00 AM)

    What an inspiring piece of writing. The caged bird sings remind me of the struggle against apartheid in South africa. The caged bird is similar to the lawfully oppressed people who found their voice through music and dance. It is through this music and dance that apartheid was dismantled. The free bird leaps on the back of the win and floats downstream till the current ends and dips... (Report) Reply

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