Treasure Island

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

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  • Adam Geiger (6/21/2009 1:12:00 AM)

    Inspired me to write my poem (I think I know why the caged bird sings)
    Its called

    As the sun sets and the tides change
    You realize some things you can’t rearrange
    Try as you wish, and wish as you try
    Keep in mind the birds will still fly

    So don’t waste your time on something that is not
    Because your hopes and dreams will surely rot
    Lay it to rest, start over new
    There is one thing I know, the sky is still blue

    Give it your best and try your all
    Remember though, the leaves will still fall
    Fate is harsh, and often tough
    Take my word, life’s full of this stuff

    The wind will still blow and those sky’s will still snow
    But I believe there is one thing you should eternally know
    As the sun sets and the tides change
    There are some things you just can’t rearrange (Report) Reply

  • Wm Ryle (5/27/2009 3:36:00 PM)

    Oh yes, Maya Angelou does know why the caged bird sings.
    The free bird flies to the sky, while the caged bird is left to wonder why...
    it is left to the confinement and constraint of its own desire to sing on the wing.

    It is left to wonder why fortune and fate left it so limited in its experience of life; while the free bird, on the wing, flies wide and high, experiencing so many things the caged bird is kept from.

    The analogy is clear. Some of us, some of mankind, are born to freedom and plenty, while some of us, some of mankind, scarcely garner any of the pleasures taken as given and for granted by those of us who are free. This should not be.

    Should we be among those free to fly, we also then should be ever conscious of and conscientious towards those confined to cages in life (and their structures are many) .

    And while some of those 'cages' are self-inflicted, compassion and empathy are among the traits of Christ.. who we should strive to be more like. (Report) Reply

  • Vivek Kartha (3/20/2009 8:12:00 AM)

    As usual Maya has made a master piece...but please do correct a few spellin errors that are there in it! (Report) Reply

  • Isam Hussain (11/28/2008 9:06:00 AM)

    a beuatiful poem expressing eloquently deep and universally felt longing to be free. Please correct two spelling mistakes -

    on the back of the wind

    and his tune is heard (Report) Reply

  • *Trusting You* (11/18/2008 11:29:00 PM)

    But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
    his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
    great lines. I like this one a lot too. you are very talented. good job.
    Crystal (Report) Reply

  • Don Maker (10/23/2008 11:48:00 AM)

    While paying homage to another poet's work is certainly acceptable, I feel that this iteration is just too much of a copy of Paul Lawrence Dunbar's 'Sympathy' to be acceptable. Not only is it unoriginal, it has none of the emotional power of 'Sympathy', probably because Dunbar actually did know what it was to be a slave, whereas Angelou could only imagine. (Report) Reply

  • Oyekake Satty (o. S.) Joshua (4/6/2008 3:23:00 PM)

    These are moving lyrics! My heart and my tears could not keep silent as read them. Your heart is indeed touched by the passion that flows only from God.

    Thank you. (Report) Reply

  • christel leago (3/9/2008 8:32:00 AM)

    This poem reminds me of 'Hope is the thing with feathers' by Emily Dickinson. The caged bird that sings, sings of hope.

    No matter what reason Maya had for writing this poem, I interpret it differently for my experience. To me its about being free but from my own self imposed cage my cage being depression or anxiety. I never had the experiences that Mayo Angelou had, but the poem touches that caged part of me that longs to be free. (Report) Reply

  • Kat V (3/7/2008 12:21:00 PM)

    Cass K-
    She credits him as being one of her sources of inspiration for ALL of her writing and style in her autobiography, p.14, Bantam Books, the 1993 reissue. (Report) Reply

  • Kat V (3/7/2008 9:20:00 AM)

    This poem is, ultimately, about her experiences as a child, as well as oppression in her surroundings. Obviously, having grown up in rural Stamps, Arkansas, Angelou knew something about the racial striations surrounding her. If you read her autobiography, also entitled I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, one of the main themes IS racial segregation, as well as sexism and isolation, and its effects on her life. These factors shaped who she is as a person, as well as a writer. To not understand this concept is to not see the full picture of her writing's beauty. (Report) Reply

  • Cass K (2/18/2008 8:52:00 PM)

    i really admire maya, i think she is a fantastic writer and has accomplished a lot. im just curious though, im doing a poetry report right now and one of the poems i chose was 'sympathy' by Paul Laurence Dunbar-this is another great poem, and reminds me a lot of maya's i know why the caged bird sings.

    in fact, the end of dunbar's poem goes 'I know why the caged bird sings! '

    im sure that maya was probably inspired by 'sympathy' to write this one of her most famous poems.....but does anybody know if she accredited Paul Laurence Dunbar for his original work? wouldn't that be the thing to do? just wonderin.... (Report) Reply

  • Mo Mox (12/20/2007 7:38:00 PM)

    F Green;

    This poem, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, is not about 'oppression in the freest country in history, ' as you said in your comment.

    It is about being raped by her mother's boyfriend when she was a child. (Report) Reply

  • Berni B (12/4/2007 7:10:00 PM)

    If you liked this poem, check out the poem 'Sympathy' by Paul Laurence Dunbar

    The first comment on the comment page (F Green) is unnecessarily cynical. A poem doesn't always show all of the world, just one aspect. Accept it and get over yourself.

    And remember that the US once did support Black Slavery and Jim Crow laws (do some research - Maya Angelou grew up in the South when Jim Crow laws were in effect. She knows where-of she speaks) .

    Is F Green a modern-day Holden Caulfield, worried about everybody else's phoniness? (Report) Reply

  • F Green (11/21/2007 6:14:00 PM)

    Phony metaphor. Well, I’ve known some quite happy and complacent caged birds in my time, and the short, unhappy lives of some free birds is not necessarily all that it is cracked up to be. It’s a phony metaphor for the phony “oppression” that some people are constantly complaining about in the freest, most opportunity rich country in history. (Report) Reply

  • Gail Deemer (7/25/2007 3:17:00 PM)

    I was introduced to Maya in a college literature class, hadn't heard of her until then. She touched the soul of one who'd been caged and then set free. I, too, know why the caged bird sings and thank her for putting into words what so many abused people don't know how or can't express.
    I, too, saw the typos but thought of the message and overlooked them. That can be fixed by a few keystrokes, the bars around a caged heart? Not so easily. Her words have inspired yet another poem for me, her courage (I also read her book) has kept my heart from giving up when all seemed lost. The world would've been so much less had she not written down what was in her heart. (Report) Reply

  • Elizabeth Benedict (7/15/2007 3:31:00 PM)

    I have often felt like that caged bird...yet I just keep right on hoping, though, that with every day that comes, I will have the courage to 'open my mouth and sing.' (Report) Reply

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