Uncovered and discovered: Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

I came across this poet the other day and was very touched and moved by this beautiful poetry.  Maya Angelou (born 1928 USA).  She has been called ‘America’s most visible autobiographer.  She wrote this poem in 1965 and I think it’s as relevent today to our human situation and the things we take for granted – things we think we want and those which shall eventually imprison us.

I know why the caged bird sings by 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 suns 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.

Lots of information about this poet here

Lots of her poetry here

Maya Angelou website

Image from here

18 thoughts on “Uncovered and discovered: Maya Angelou

  1. This poet has been showing up a lot in my life lately. How timely that you should post this poem today, when I am thinking about freedom, and what it really means to be free! Her words are so beautiful and they ring so true. Thank you.

    1. Fabulous timing eh 🙂 This poem made me cry its so beautiful – and true. I think everyone should read it. Perhaps you could do a photograph to go with this poem Kirsty? I’d love o see freedom and (feel it sometimes) though I know that we all have to be in the rat race in order to live 🙂
      Glad you enjoyed ithe poem again Kirsty 🙂

  2. Dr. Angelou is very famous, here. Whenever she is interviewed and it is telecast on a channel I receive, I set aside time to listen. She always sheds a positive light on something that I can hang on to. Remarkable woman. Thank-you for this post, Lynda.

    1. As well as being a fine poetess, she looks such a kind person Leslie, some people have that aura about them. Glad to hear that she is positive and spiritual too. I’ll certainly be reading some more of her poems! She seems a much beloved poet – and no wonder 🙂 Thanks for visiting and your kind comments Leslie – always appreciated 🙂

  3. I have been a fan of Maya Angelou for many years now. She lives in Winston Salem North Carolina. I visit there once a year to see my son. Only through following up on your links have I found that we share names. She was Marguerite Ann and my name is Ann Marguerite. I feel even closer to her now.

  4. Hey – fancy that Ann! It’s the first time I’ve read any of her poems – and they are fabulous, a natural poetess I think 🙂 I keep forgetting to blogroll you Ann, I’ll get on to it now 🙂

  5. Had the honor of meeting her once at a conference…definitely a dignified and eloquent person.

  6. Maya’s very wonderful autobiography slayed me when I read it. It is such an interesting view of post war San Francisco as she shows us her childhood and from there she takes a rocky challenging path to the world at large. Brilliant women are such a joy.

    1. Hya Darcy – very nearly missed your comment, sorry. This book sounds interesting indeed. I shall give it a go (when I finish my small pile of TBRs) Thanks for your comment and visit – appreciated 🙂

  7. hi lynda,

    maya angelou’s poetry has this poetic grip, like a razor that cuts into the deep recesses of the heart. that’s how i describe the feeling after reading this poem. and i say, special thanks to you, for posting them here in your blogpages as an endearing tribute to the woman extra-ordinaire.

    in gratitude,

  8. Thanks for posting this one, Lynda. Maya Angelou continues to be an inspiration, as well as an incredible poet/author.

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