Famous Inspirational Poem

Caged Bird By Maya Angelou

Caged Bird By Maya Angelou was first published in her book, "Shaker, Why Don't You Sing?" in 1983. The poem is a Metaphor illustrating the differences between African-Americans and Whites during the civil rights era. The author, a black who grew up in the South during this era, is expressing her feelings at the discrimination she faced during her life. Her first autobiography published in 1970 is titled, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings"

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To me, a town girl of twenty-one years, this exquisitely organized influential poem sounds like a hymn capable to eradicate the fear of the mind. Really the glory of freedom is untasted to...

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Analysis of Form and Technique

Caged Bird

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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.

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For Students - Analysis of Form and Technique

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Techniques this poem uses:

  • One of the stanzas is repeated, which brings attention to the idea of the caged bird singing for freedom.

    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

    Read more about repetition in poetry
  • This poem uses a metaphor to compare caged birds to African Americans fighting for equality during the civil rights movement. Metaphors compare two objects or concepts without using the words "like" or "as."

    his wings are clipped and
    his feet are tied
    so he opens his throat to sing.

    for the caged bird
    sings of freedom.

    But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
    his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream

    Read more about metaphors

More Poems with Analysis of Form and Technique

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Has this poem touched you? Share your story!
  • by Arpita Mazumder
  • 5 months ago

To me, a town girl of twenty-one years, this exquisitely organized influential poem sounds like a hymn capable to eradicate the fear of the mind. Really the glory of freedom is untasted to someone who is in bondage; and it's also true that when one's limbs are shackled by SLAVERY the only way to express one's anguish, distress, or protest is to open one's mouth because silence does not defy one's significance then, but sometimes severe oppression makes the voice to tremble. Yet the voice, though not loud, does not lose all its strength; and gradually more voices join the trembling voice to strengthen it. In Maya Angelou's poem, the hope of the caged bird to be free becomes synonymous with the inspiration to achieve freedom of the African American freedom fighters. She emphasizes the journey here instead of the destination. The touching refrains enhance the optimistic attitude of the poet. She shows her skill again in inspiring the readers with some simple and homely words bound by a perfect harmony.

  • by Mallory E. Holt
  • 1 year ago

I remember this poem from my guided reading class in 5th grade. I remember it well. This poem really touched me, and reading it again just made my day. This poem, I remember it being about slavery.

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