Caged Bird By: Ritik Sharma
The poem • A free bird leaps on the back of the wind and floats downstream till the current ends and dips his wing 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 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 poem continued… • 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.
About the writer Maya Angelou • Maya Angelou was born in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. • She grew up in St. Louis and Stamps, Arkansas. • She is a poet, author, historian, song writer, play writer, dancer, stage and screen producer, director, performer, singer and civil right activist. • She is know for her six autobiographies which start from ‘I know why the caged bird sings.’ • ‘I know why the caged bird sings’ was nominated for a national book. • In 2001 she was known to be one of the 30 most powerful women in America.
The title • The title caged bird gives the reader the idea of a trapped bird who might want to become free. Birds are usually free unless they are kept as pets but after reading the poem the bird doesn’t seem as a pet therefore it brings back the idea that it is a trapped bird who wants to become free.
Structure with meaning • The first stanza introduces the free bird showing its characteristics. The free bird is shown as lazy as it just floats and doesn’t want to fly. • The second stanza introduces the caged bird. It informs that the caged bird in not happy and yearns for freedom. It shows the bird is very limited to do things as it is tied down to a cage and all it could do it sing. • The third stanza emphasizes on the fact how important freedom is for the caged bird and it is desperate for it. • The fourth stanza shows that even though the free bird has freedom it still craves for more. It also shows that life is a pleasure for the free bird as there are worms which is food for it waiting for it. The free bird doesn’t even have to search for it. • The fifth stanza shows that a cage is all destiny has in store for the bird and getting freedom is just a dream. • The sixth stanza which is the last stanza just repeats the third stanza which emphasizes that the caged bird is helpless and it is not going to get freedom.
More structure • The first two stanzas are both 7 lines each and both define the lives of two birds living in totally different environments and leading totally different lives. • The third stanza may be considered as the chorus of the poem as it occurs again at stanza 6. • The 4th and 5th stanzas as again both 4 lines each and compare the lives of the birds. (show on poem)
Meaning • This poem compared and contrasts the lives and feelings of a caged bird and a free bird. • The poem shows the free bird can go wherever it wants to go and also claim the sky as no other bird has a right on it. The poem also shows the free bird as being lazy and the caged bird as being helpless. It shows that the cages bird is yearning for freedom and doesn’t get it and the free bird has freedom yet doesn’t value it. • It is compared to the idea of slavery in the USA because it portrays the caged bird as a slave and the free bird as a free white person. The caged bird singing songs brings the idea of the slaves singing while working especially in the fields because the songs used to give them motivation.
Language • The poet uses varying styles is words such as those that give a sense of freedom and those that give a feeling of trapped. • When describing the free bird words such as floats, leaps, dares, and dips which certainly show the feeling of freedom. This shows there is no pressure or criticism upon the action the free bird does. • When describing the caged bird the words choice tends to give a feeling of being trapped. The words used were nightmare, scream, shadow, bars, clipped, tied. • There was some rhyme for example: lawn-own, breeze-trees, trill-still-hill, dreams-scream, and rage-cage. There was rhyme but it only occurred time to time.
Activity • Now on a piece of paper write down about your thoughts of the poem and how you interpret it and share it with the class.