I Know Why

I know why the caged bird sings
Why the steel constricts so heavily around
And the weight of the air on delicate wings
Rubs away at their softness--tightly bound
To suppress the worry of unadorned kings
Who cage beauty because they are not crowned
And the bird's song is the gem they seek,
The treasure they possess, but cannot keep.

I know why her wings will not break,
Why in the midst of ruin she will always rise--
In fear she will not fold, she will not quake
For the strength of God is buried in her eyes
And the sound of her song soothes her wake;
Let not the coming darkness be a surprise,
When the last rays of light caress her battle scars
As the sun sets, fading between these metal bars...

I know why a brave and startling truth must come
Why it's hidden there in the notes of this bird's song
Bellowed and swallowed by vocal cords numb
From the consistent denial of right from wrong
Strained and beaten to a mournful hum
That voice keeps singing, keeps beating strong--
She will not stop, allow her soul to be reduced
For the lock must be broken, the chains loosed.

I know why a woman and bird must be the same
Why times are different but people are unchanged
In a world where everyone and no one shares the blame
Left amongst the evils of men, mad and deranged
She weeps in her song for the passing of this horrible shame
Exploited, forgotten, and in the end always shortchanged
Her song never dies, will never falters--she will always be
Proud, strong...a caged bird, a woman phenomenally.

Maya Angelou
author and poet
(April 4, 1928 - May 28, 2014)

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  1. Nice! When I read the first line I knew this poem was inspired by Maya Angelou's powerful poem "I Know Why he Caged Bird Sings". I liked the way you incorporated "Phenomenal Woman".

  2. Thank you! I also threw in the lesser known "A Brave and Startling Truth." I appreciate you reading too! :-)





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