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
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

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Read poems about / on: freedom, sky, sun, wind, dream, tree

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Comments about this poem (I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou )

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  • Rookie - 119 Points 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

  • Rookie - 962 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

  • Rookie - 962 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

  • Bronze Star - 6,632 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

  • Silver Star - 9,440 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

  • Rookie - 598 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 - 147 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

  • Rookie - 328 Points Krishnakumar Chandrasekar Nair (5/29/2014 10:53:00 AM)

    He singeth best, who loveth best
    True freedom of the skies so blue
    For God who designed our souls as such
    Tuned it to sound beautiful when its free and true............. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 962 Points Hebert Logerie Sr. (5/28/2014 9:28:00 PM)

    Maya, the Singing Caged Bird Left Quietly

    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

    Rookie - 962 Points Laurie Coleman (5/29/2014 1:52:00 AM)

    Just lovely, Hebert, such a fitting tribute to such a remarkable lady. I have sett her poem, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings to music, just today. It brings me joy to sing her words. So far it is just me and my guitar. Tomorrow I begin on a choral arrangement!

  • Rookie - 271 Points Birgitta Abimbola Heikka (5/27/2014 9:58:00 PM)

    Excellent poem! Experience is the best teacher. (Report) Reply

    Rookie - 271 Points Richard Thripp (6/3/2014 9:42:00 AM)

    She propagated abortion: 1,400 black babies daily.
    She supported Winnie Mandela: convicted murderer.
    She embraced de-population via serums.
    Maya Angelou = death

  • Bronze Star - 6,632 Points Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (5/15/2014 4:21:00 AM)

    Freedom the birth right of man and when it is denied it is rights violation. The poet takes the subject in its full meaning and made it into world liked poem. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 154 Points Dr.subhendu Kar (5/12/2014 2:23:00 PM)

    oh what a write of freedom being captive yet craving to curve shape of own god awaking to ensamble, (Report) Reply

Read all 237 comments »

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