March 30, 2009

Manic Monday: Bird

There is a creative weekly meme known as Manic Monday. Bloggers are challenged to create a post based on a different word each week. This week the word is 'Bird'. My first reaction was to go with the legendary jazz musician known by that name.

However, my spirit was moved in a different direction. Many folks in the current generation don't understand the power of Maya Angelou. Some know her from her inaugural poem when President Clinton came into office. However, in my home she became a superstar with the emotion and images evoked by the following poem.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

The free bird leaps
on the back of the win
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 is 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.

Maya Angelou

Dr. Maya Angelou is a remarkable Renaissance woman who is hailed as one of the great voices of contemporary literature. As a poet, educator, historian, best-selling author, actress, playwright, civil-rights activist, producer and director, she continues to travel the world, spreading her legendary wisdom.

What is your best memory of May Angelou?


Jamie said...

I considered Charlie Bird as well, but didn't care for the cuts on You Tube. The Bird should be heard at his best. Maya Angelou's biography was a wonderful choice. I was surprised you didn't comment on the blog subject below the one on birds with "Rock A My Soul" and Alvin Ailey.

star8278 said...

Beautiful, her words are always so powerful.

Villager said...

Jamie - I need to go see Alvin Ailey's selection as per your suggestion.

Star8278 - Thank you for your kind words. I'm off to visit your MM entry now...

Marilyn said...

I thought about that book when the word was announced but it has been so long since I read it... maybe I should see if the library has it.

In the poem I like the part about the bars of rage. In my own life I think my anger cages me more than anything.

Tink *~*~* said...

And rightfully is she hailed! Thanks for your post today, love the poem as well as the poet.

Tink *~*~*
Colorful birds from Orlando, Florida said...

Villager, back in 1979, I was in a poetry workshop with Maya Angelou At Miami Dade College, and after the workshop, I and four other students talked with her.

Not only was she a physically commanding presence, but she was also able to hold 4 different conversations in 4 different languages: English, French, Spanish and Swahili.

Needless to say, I've been impressed by her ever since.

Villager said...

Marilyn - I'm sure you will find it in your library. It is always good to be uplifted by powerful poetry and literature. I'm glad I helped today.

Tink - I enjoyed your yellow and blue birds from Orlando!

Geoffrey - Excellent to hear such first-hand stories. It is good to honor our (s)heroes while they are still alive whenever possible...