Caged Bird Table of Contents
Maya Angelou

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 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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Analysis:In this poem, the two birds are being compared. The first bird is free to do what ever it wants, while the other is confined to a cage. The image that is voiced here is two people, one who has been free to do what he or she pleases, the other who is crying out to be free and has been plastered to to the floor for so long. The analogy of the birds to humans could be interpreted as discrimination. This poem seems to symbolize the difference between colored and white people. While the white man has been free all his life to claim things and do as he pleases, the black man has been confined to slavery so for so long, awaiting the moment he could claim his freedom. There are many examples in the poem supporting this thought. Clipped wings and tied feet are describing the enslaved African. Dares to claim the sky and thinks of the fat worms describe the free white.