Maya Angelou’s “Caged Bird” inspired this piece. This poem isn’t so much of a rebuttal (or in any way disrespectful) to Master Angelou’s brilliant work. Instead, it’s meant to be a different take on a caged bird singing, which I felt like, years ago, when I couldn’t find a job for about half a year, and it seemed nothing was going my way. As with many difficult times, you go through a series of ups and downs. On the good days, I could tell myself to remain optimistic and felt like “Caged Birds” Angelou writes about. On the bad days, though, I felt defeated and downtrodden, like this bird.
“Please don’t tell me the Caged Bird Sings”
I often wonder what a bird trapped inside of a cage does all day;
Sitting on his perch…rocking back and forth…chirping as if someone is listening;
Looking at the same four walls,
Sick of the hideous green paint and yellow wallpaper.
I bet monotony soon sets in – perch…food pellets…water beaker…crash against the bars…perch…food pellets…water beaks…crash against the bars…
His arms probably feel heavy as lead,
Every time he flaps those wings,
He smacks his beak against the cage,
Reminding himself that he’s a prisoner to the cage.
He chirps high and loud, like birds singing in the trees,
And I wonder if he ever thinks, or imagines, or dreams
What it must feel like to be free;
Does he know what it feels like to have the wind blowing against his feathers as he soars through the sky;
Or to own the skies and have it play second fiddle to a show where he is the brightest star;
Or to fly all the way up to the sun, and kiss her on the cheek, and feel her radiance against his breath.
The caged bird doesn’t move much – perch…food pellets…water beaker…crash again the bars…
He listens to their callous laughter, patronizing tweets, and chitter-chatter of how content he should be;
As if they’ve already forgotten what it’s like to gulp mouthfuls of air,
That tastes so pure, and clean, and fresh,
The way he only hears about on those infomercials, which drown out his nightly chirping spree.
The caged bird sits on his branch,
Sulking, and swinging back and forth,
Dreaming what it must feel like to be free,
Just to drown out the voices screaming inside of his head
Please don’t tell me that you hear the caged bird singing.
I am that caged bird,
And I am screaming,
And dreaming for the day my soul will find freedom.