A free bird leaps on the back of the wind
and floats downstream till the current ends
and dips his wing in the orange suns 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.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Maya Angelou's poem I know why the caged bird sings

151 Comments

  1. Ben says:

    I love this poem. It really shows the struggle we face in our lives. We are trapped in our lives, yet we long to be free from what binds us.

  2. Caitlin Long says:

    I love this poem. It relates well with my life

  3. Richard Golden says:

    i really liek the poems there al super fun to read and it kinda made since to me i havent been able to read poems intell this year if i had to go back and read the poem again i would.

  4. btadley says:

    THis poem shows how modern society is held back in many ways especially through technology

  5. Mallory says:

    I totally agree with this poem. People get to comfortable and then stay in the same habit. They need to try new things.

  6. Jarrod says:

    I liked the poem because it could be related to someone feels about life.

  7. Blake Reed says:

    I think that this poem is very interesting. I know that there is lots of this going on in the world today. Over all i liked the poem.

  8. ryan says:

    i agree with the caged bird sings. it is good to adventure out in society and learn new things. in are world today with all the new technology. you cant keep stuck in the out way of life.

  9. carlos says:

    This was a great poem it changed my life and i in freedom now and not in being caged believe.

  10. Keegan Bintz says:

    This is a great poem and has lots of meaning to it.

  11. Hailey says:

    I thought that this was a great poem. They had a good meaning to it and I could actually understand what this one meant, unlike a lot of other poems that are out there.

  12. Brendon Hardy says:

    @Alisson- I agree with you! I havent heard great words like this in a long time. It was a great poem with great reasoning and words!

  13. Clinton says:

    @Nancie from United States- I totally agree with you. I thought this was a great poem with a lot of meaning to it.

  14. AJ says:

    Id way rather be the caged bird because he doesnt have any thing to worry about but wanting to be free. the free bird has crap to worry about like predators.

  15. christian says:

    this poem change my life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. sandy birdwell says:

    Much love and respect for maya

  17. Jerry says:

    The poem is not merely about the African-American experience — to suggest that is to deny the experience of all others who have been politically, socially, or personally oppressed, or whose lives have gone unfulfilled. The theme is universal.

  18. Funsho says:

    I really think this poem is beautiful. It describes the African American experience so aptly, and with so much emotion and feeling. I just love the poem.

  19. Nancie says:

    I think this poem is a beautiful poem because it has a soft tone to it. I also think its a great poem because
    Maya Angelou put much feeling into it. I think Maya Angelou is By far the best poet in history.

  20. diametria says:

    wi love me some maya angelou i could read her poems all day if i could but i dont have none of her books i wish i had them

  21. Clemence Chinyani says:

    This is a brilliant piece that tells so much of what many people are in (situations) It may be personal cages or any other that prevent us from experiencing the joys of life. It is so full of emotion and written with skill, I love it a lot.

  22. Dee says:

    this poem reminds us that everyone has a bit of cage around them. Maya suffered a lot growing up, but that suffering she turned into something larger than its source – for this she is ultimately admirable

  23. Aad de Jong says:

    I came to hear about this poem when I heard Buckshot Lefonque sing about it. Both the poem and the song did move me greatly.

  24. Steve Charters says:

    Bland versifying that cannot compare with Gerard Manley Hopkins ‘daregale skylark’ poem on the same theme.

  25. stefanie says:

    i all ways love this poem growing up with a disiblity i can so realte to this in a way i still cant verbleize the coumputer has been the cadge door that open an set me free to coummcte my thought better

  26. Nana Abena says:

    Its a touching poem that depicts a life of a prisoner and someone that has freedom no one’s freedom should be trampled upon.’You can reach for the stars’ the sky is the starting point .Thanks Maya.

  27. Linda McCue says:

    deeply and profoundly sad, yet beautiful…….the part about longing for something you are unaware of, but longing for it anyway because some part of you knows and has the imprint of it, really touches my heart……such tragedies exist unfortunately.

  28. trisno says:

    it’s a good poem………
    be the best forever for you.

    trisno from indonesia

  29. Pamela Enis says:

    I just finished reading her book by the same name. There have been times in my life that I have been ashamed of being white…but never like when I read this book. If I could take away (with an apology) everything the white race has done to other races I would. Unfortunately, you can change everything about you except your race, and I’m not too proud of mine right now.

  30. Tylesha Godana says:

    This poem is deep in-deed!!! It was the most true-to-life, touching and all at the same time slap-you-in-the-face poem I have EVER read. These things combined make it powerful. After reading the comments and then reading it again I believe that it not only speaks to those of us that are black, but even Christians. This poem is deep. I would love to meet with Ms. Angelou and find out what she was thinking and her heart-felt thoughts on it.

  31. Wesley Ninai says:

    Two words GOOD POEM

  32. robyn says:

    im doing a research project and i dont know what poetic devices are used and an example in the poem “I Know Why the Caged bird Sings”

  33. Jimmy says:

    This poem basically says that the free bird takes his freedom for granted, but if it was caged, it would aprreciate being free alot more.

  34. Aimee says:

    Doing an essay on this poem. I’m very knowledgable about the poem but verse 4 is very hard. Can someone analyse it for me or at least tell me what trade winds is?

  35. Grant says:

    I have read this poem many times and never thought it had anything to do with race. I read the book also. I think its about being inhibited in one way or another. Here the author is trying to explain process of drowning. There is no need to tell how or why the person got into the water or what he need to do to get. What she does offer is two people in the water. One can swim and one cant. She doesn’t offer a solution for the cage bird, just the status of his being. Its the plight of the cage bird that important here. Its any body story.In the end its not about the cause or solution its about being. They won’t put it on her TOMB so i wil say it here….MAYA ANGELOU is greatest poet of our tim. Her ability to convey both thoughts and emotions through words i think is unequal. Just my opinion.

  36. Annie says:

    I had read this poem many times and admired it for its literary genius and symbolism. I came across it again recently, and it has taken on a whole new meaning for me, as I am going through a period of major depression. I can relate my pain and dispair with the caged bird, and know that I have to break free of the “cage” of depression so that I can again “leap on the back of the wind.” Thank you, Maya, for giving me a way to see what I need to do.

  37. Jana says:

    In the poem “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”, by Maya Angelou, the author tells a tale of sorrow, and desire, comparing a free bird to a caged bird. The beautifully written poem opens your eyes to the sad truth about segregation, through a wonderful blend of similes, metaphors, rhyme, repetition and assonance. This poem has a deeper meaning that is the ongoing plight to end the racial segregation in the United States.
    Maya Angelou expresses in her poem two opposite lives living in the same society, with the free and caged bird. White people represent a free bird able to “[leap] on the back of wind”, and do as he, or she chooses. The line “The free bird thinks of … the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright law and names the sky his own” demonstrates that most of the white society cares more about their wealth and very little about the black community’s oppression. Angelou also implies that black citizens of the United States are very much like a caged bird, “his wings are clipped and his feet are tied…” except for that the bars on a black citizens cage, that restrict him from the joys of freedom and give him a “grave of dreams”, are not made of cheap metal or plastic, but of racist oppression, discrimination, and segregation. Because of the caged bird’s oppression, “[he] sings with a fearful trill of things unknown and longed for still”, like how civil rights activists wrote papers, gave speeches, and organized protests for equal rights in America so no citizen felt as if he was in a cage.
    When Angelou says that the black citizen’s “tune is heard on a distant hill,” her message is that the white society is can hear their cries for equality but only faintly. Finally in her last line of the poem, she says, “for the caged bird sings of freedom”, she means that the plight for equality is slowly improving, but is nowhere near the end, and the only way to get to the end is to make everyone aware of this social injustice.
    Angelou believes in equality for all of mankind and declares through her poem that even though there are social injustices in life, hope and persistence can lessen, and eventually get rid of segregation. This poem tries to show that even though the free bird and the caged bird are still birds, one is free and the other is a prisoner, despite that they both deserve freedom and the opportunity to be happy.

  38. Cassie says:

    If you look up Maya Angelou’s biography then you will know even deeper about what this poem means!!

  39. Zenoa Hinds - Lewis says:

    this poem tells me about the life of a caged bird and the life of a free bird and if i ever have a bird, i will not put it in a cage, but set it free, even though it is hard to let your pet go. If you really love your pet, you would do that.

  40. cinnamon jackson says:

    i loved this poem it help me understand things in life better

  41. jasman williams says:

    i luv thiz peom only thing bout it iz that i dont understand thiz poem u need a little mo details so that mean u need to rewrite thiz poem so that people can understand it mo

  42. Paco says:

    This poem is one of my greatest admirations. It is simply moving.It is wonderful how she gives the peom such extravagent energy. Using the bird to emphasise her point is somewhat genius!

  43. Shane Ninai says:

    well done maya well done..if your goal was to raise awareness and spread your caged bird’s message..rest assured you have done that..thanks to your insightful poem you have made sure that you are not the only one who knows why the caged bird sings..well done

  44. Shane Ninai says:

    This poem is yet another testement to the literary genius of Maya Angelou..one must applaude her use of metaphors, rhyme and assonance as Diego said her use of AAAB was purely masterful..one could not miss the deeper meaning in the poem..freedom, equality, segregation, prjudice, racism, captivity alienation is this not why Maya’s caged bird sings..thanks to this poem i have developed a deeper understanding towards the plight of the many minority groups that fought for deserved freedom during the Civil Rights Movement..

  45. Abdul Hazim Abdul HAmid and Ann says:

    i think this poem is really facinating that it opens my eyes and it inspires me in various ways now id rather spend my days outside my house rather than being caged up in my house like the caged bird.

  46. Wasim says:

    This is a very wonderful poem. You may admire it more after you have read Maya’s biography. Her biography will prove that it is the sound from her heart

  47. Rasheed says:

    This poem is like no other, because only one person can write such poems in a way that puts you in the poem. Makes you a part of the poem tells you who you are and where you coming from. Its a gift to touch with out touching to heal broken hearts and to love those who you dont know. This poem is price less.

    Thanks
    Rasheed Watson

  48. twinklewriter says:

    Maya Angelou is a very well know Poet of our time. Her writings of poetry are indeed outstand. This poem is beautiful and the flow of the words relaxing. Thank You Maya for writing and teaching poets the magic of writing words…

  49. Tara Alizadeh says:

    This poem is very touching. It’s about an honest story of a black girl talking about her early life. As a girl from the rural South, she experiences poverty, racism, and a lot of ignorance.

  50. yann says:

    the bird is the poet himself i guess, how nice

  51. Jessica says:

    I love this poem it is so nice

  52. Pedro Quirino says:

    Those poems that you write are so interesting and I hope you write for ever those beautiful poems.

  53. Zoey says:

    It’s kind of obvious what this poem is talking about.. Prejudice, Discrimination, Racism, Fight for Freedom, Longing for freedom, Human rights, I mean really if you just read it, it would all come to you and I think this is really un-necessary because (forgive me) only an idiot wouldn’t understand what this poem is about! I mean just read it!!And Brain you’ve really made a lot of effort to comment and I really admire what you’ve written but I’d like to thank Philip for giving me ideas for my essay =) thnx a lot

  54. Jude Chenevert says:

    u r an amazing poet! maybe u need do sum more! 😀

  55. Jude Chenevert says:

    This poem is touching.

  56. Carlene Godfrey says:

    I know why the caged bird sings is a beautiful expression…I see the caged bird as one with confidence and self esteem issues…Ms Angelou shows me that he can sing, be heard and fly high…beautiful inspirational and windsome. T.Y

  57. suhyun says:

    i had to memorize this poem for english >:[

  58. lilu says:

    this is the most awesome poem i ever read, it has some power that touches one’s felling, wow!!!!!!!

  59. Diego says:

    The poem “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou is poignant poem that revolves around the theme of freedom. This piece declares that even though there are social injustices and inequalities within life, hope and faith in the American Dream can overcome the obstacles of isolation and seclusion. It is a tale of sorrow and desire that captures the lives of two contrasting birds. While the free soars the open sky, the caged bird’s “wings are clipped and his feet are tied” (Angelou, line 6). The ungrateful free bird never needs to worry about its future, however, the caged bird can only hope and sing for a fruitful future. When reading, the reader realizes that Angelou believes in equality for all of mankind and she truly knows why the caged bird sings.
    Through the use of a lyrical poem, Angelou conveys to the reader a story of a hopeful caged bird and an unappreciative free bird. In the first line of the poem, Angelou utilizes assonance, the repetition of a vowel sounds, in saying “A free bird leaps on the back of the wind” (Angelou, line 1). Angelou also writes the poem as an enjambment because each stanza is one continuing sentence portraying the life of the caged bird to the life of the free bird: “A free bird leaps on the back of the wind/ and floats downstream till the current ends/ and dips his wing in the orange suns rays and dares to claim the sky” (Angelou, lines 1-3). Moreover, Angelou uses alliteration when saying, “shadow shouts on a nightmare scream”(Angelou, line 15). Throughout the poem, Angelou writes two stanzas containing three lines followed by a refrain, which she does twice. In doing so, she evokes hope and suggests to the reader that the refrain is the most powerful stanza in the poem. When Angelou says, “The free bird thinks of another breeze/ and the trade wind soft through the sighting trees/ and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn and he names the sky his own” (Angelou, lines 11-13), the reader discovers the “AAB” rhyme scheme. However, in the refrain, Angelou uses an “AAAB” rhyme scheme. The last word of the refrain breaks off from the rhyme with the last word being far from the original rhyme: “trill, still, hill, freedom.” The non-rhyme represents the caged bird’s potential to break away from those accepted ideas that white is the dominant race and perhaps rise to that desired level of equality and justice. By switching between the life of the free bird and the life of the caged bird, the reader can clearly see the difference between the two bird’s lives. With Angelou’s use of a lyrical poem and sophisticated rhyme, the reader can appreciate the poem’s deeper meaning.
    Through the use of diction and figurative language, Angelou portrays two opposite lives in the same society. In the first stanza, Maya Angelou uses imagery to show the reader how the soul is always alive and filled with excitement when it is free and unbounded from impulsiveness. Angelou uses strong images to invoke such thoughts of being imprisoned as well. When Angelou expresses the free bird “Leaps on the back of the wind” and “dips his wings in the orange sun rays,” she enriches the reader’s sense to reflect on the thought of being free and alive. Angelou’s choice of diction reflects that simple, natural elements of nature represent a visual playground for the bird. These words that are transcribed by Angelou give the reader a colorful feeling of happiness. In the next stanza, however, Angelou writes in depressing and stark voice. These images and metaphors are completely opposite from those of the first stanza. “Narrow cage”, “bars of rage” and “wings are clipped” express a feeling of terror and fear. The irony and paradox shown in this stanza are displayed in magnitude because of the pleasant images in the first stanza. “Bars of rage” is a metaphor that represents the imprisonment of innocent slaves throughout history. This unpleasant dissimilarity provokes a feeling of melancholy. “Grave of dreams”, also a metaphor, creates a sense of sorrow because the imagery echo’s itself to despair and misery. The irony that extends the poem is the tragic fact that the bird still “sings of freedom”. In the last stanza “The caged bird sings with a fearful trill of things unknown but longed for still” represents that even thou it is inescapable, its dreams and future are still there edging the fact that they might seem impossible. The poem is a contrast between freedom and enslavement in a single society. While the free bird lives a life of ignorance towards its freedom as it simply “leaps on the back of the wind and dips his wing in the orange sun rays,” on the contrary, the caged bird can hope for freedom. The caged bird personified as the plight of African Americans and other discriminated groups, while the free bird that “thinks of another breeze and fat worms waiting,” symbolizes any wealthy or free person. Throughout her social and political analogy, Angelou presents to her readers a poem that provokes motley emotions.
    When looking at “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” it is evident that the American Dream of freedom is the underlying theme. While there are those who take their freedom for granted, there are others, trapped and segregated, that “sing of freedom.” Angelou wrote this poem in response to the discrimination and segregation that African Americans faced since their arrival in America. She speaks of the two different birds to convey the message that even though there may be isolation between groups, one is never more dominant than the other, and therefore they have a right to freedom and hope. She is so passionate about the terrible situation because Angelou is the caged bird, and she feels that with her cry for free she will be free. Angelou believes that there are social inequalities and unfair discriminations in America, which contrasts with the common view of the American Dream. However, throughout the poetry piece, Angelou instills in her readers the sense of hope and freedom that is an endless part of the true American Dream. So while the caged bird “sings with a fearful trill of things unknown” and the free bird “thinks of another breeze,” it is apparent that the American Dream is attained by those who have hope.

  60. rebecca says:

    this poem really touched my heart and opened my eyes to how life really is. This was poem put it in words that no other could have. Its just plain and simply beautiful.

  61. Rhiannon Taylor says:

    Im doing a couple paragraphs on a poem of my choice and I absolutly love this poem. Its beuatiful and it compares to how the two bird live differently. 🙂 I love your poem!:D

  62. bridget says:

    this poem made me cry!:( its beautiful and sadly kind of true. it should hav been number three in the top 40 >:|

  63. Benvictor Kipkorir Sang says:

    I wish to comment Maya for the wonderful poem. I am trying to write an English paper about a character who has great influence in the lives of many especially the minority.
    Going through Maya’s work, I couldn’t find anthing better than this. It very inspiring……..

  64. Carol says:

    A social and political analogy can clearly be drawn from the poem. However, it also illustrates Maya’s very personal feelings about herself. As a young child, Maya felt she was very different from others. She srruggled with deep pain from being rejected and abandoned by their parents. Touts and negative comments of others caused her believe she was ugly and unworthy. And she was a victim of secual abuse. The caged bird is Maya. As you read her autobiography entitled “I Know Wy the Caged Bird Sings” I believe you will begin to understand even deeper the personal analogy to the poem.

  65. amanda says:

    i smile and watch as the bird sings still, singing of freedom, through notes so shrill up with that free bird, on the hill.

  66. Michelle says:

    Since the poem is just so beautiful and moving, I would just like to take it lightly, and concentrate on the feeling it gives me,not how it was written or what it technecally means. because to me a poem is written to bring a feeling to the reader’s heart of what the writer wants the reader to feel.

  67. Philip says:

    All birds deserve to be free. Maya Angelou’s “I know why the caged bird sings” is a tale of sorrow and desire. Throughout the poem Angelou recounts the life of a free bird and the life of a caged bird. The free bird lives a life of ignorance towards its freedom, simply dreaming and drifting without any cares at all. The caged bird lives a desolate life, trapped within its iron prison. The poem conveys Angelou’s feelings about the plight of the African-American people, one of injustice and the problems they face within society.

    The poem compares the inequalities of life between the free bird and the caged bird. The poem describes how the free bird “thinks of another breeze…and the fat worms waiting” Angelou intends this to represent the white people of the USA. They have few problems in the world and live an easy life. While the caged bird “stalks down his narrow cage and can seldom see through his bars of rage” Life is an entirely different matter for the caged bird. Rather than focusing of the luxuries of life he must simply summon the will to keep wishing for a better existence. This comparison shows the cruelty of life, one living in relative ease while another just as deserving lives in desperation.

    The caged bird is trapped within a seemingly inescapable jail, doing all that he can to achieve his goal of freedom and happiness. However he is given little chance “his wings are clipped and his feet are tied” There are not many options for the caged bird, so he “sings with a fearful trill of the things unknown but longed for still.” Even though there is a slim chance to become free he tries anyway, for the caged bird will never give up hope as long as he still has some kind of voice. The caged birds determination to keep trying no matter how bad things allow him to hope that some day he may have freedom.

    Angelou uses two birds to represent both ideologies in the poem, that of freedom and that of entrapment. Birds represent freedom and the free bird “leaps on the back of the wind…and dips his wing in the orange suns rays” This conjures images of freedom for the bird and is the ideal life of a bird in general. As a contrast to this the caged bird “stands on the grave of dreams…his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream” His dreams of freedom are lost and he has little more to do than despair. This convinces the reader that a bird should not live without freedom. Both of these birds are the same creature however, so both should live with freedom.

    “I know why the caged bird sings” portrays two opposite lives in the same society. It shows the unfairness of life and particularly represents the problems African-American people face in the White dominant society of the USA. It shows that even though both birds are essentially the same creature, they live with unequal standards despite both being worthy of freedom and happiness.

  68. Brian says:

    Here is what I thought of the poem after reading and studying it. It is not so much an analysis of the poem, but an analysis of the devices used to convey the thesis of the poem.

    Maya Angelou is one of the major American authors of the 20th century who is best known for her autobiographical writings. Her past years encompasses the Civil Rights Movement, which was largely influential in her writings at that time and up until today. The Civil Rights Movement in the United States was a political, legal, and social struggle by black Americans to gain full citizenship rights and to achieve racial equality. It was also first and foremost a challenge to segregation. During the civil rights movement, individuals and civil rights organizations challenged segregation and discrimination with a variety of activities. Maya Angelou wrote “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” in response to this movement.
    “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” declares how there will always be social injustices and inequalities within life. By relating to society as she experienced it during that time, Maya Angelou compares the white people to a free bird and the black people to a caged bird. The free bird is allowed to roam anywhere and do as he wishes; however, the caged bird is forced to be confined to his boundaries and sings of freedom. The caged bird’s singing symbolizes its hope that one day they will rise to a level of equality with the rest of society.
    “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” possesses a passionate tone. The poem speaks about the unfairness and social injustices people must endure as they continue through life. Angelou describes how the free bird “leaps [and] floats on the wind and dares the claim the sky” and the caged bird “stalks in his cage” being “blind to the bars of rage.” She provides the juxtaposition of the free bird to the caged bird to show the injustice faced by many using words that evoke a sense of energy. This sense of energy alludes to the fact that Angelou is unsatisfied with the way society treats people and is eager to correct its faults. She then goes further to speak of the caged bird’s song and how it “sings with a fearful trill of the things unknown” because it “longs for freedom.” The fact that the caged bird longs for freedom proves that the African-Americans have not yet attained the freedom they deserve. Freedom in this sense does not necessarily mean that the African-Americans are enslaved. Maya Angelou is referring to the mid-1900s when the African-Americans were not treated with equality as the white people, much less respect. It is the act of segregation that limited the opportunities the African-Americans had to improve their lives, thus preventing them from growing with the rest of society, and therefore following up to today. Her taking on of a passionate tone is in attempts to influence people to make the necessary changes within society for a better life for the African-Americans.
    Though it is simple, the poem’s diction contributes to imagery about living life. The first of these would be the contrast between a “free bird” and a “caged bird.” Birds symbolize freedom. Because both African-Americans and whites are being portrayed as birds, theoretically both should share equality and freedom; however, the African-American bird is caged while the other is not. By simply juxtaposing both birds, Angelou describes how not all people are treated equally. She goes further to illustrate how the free bird “leaps on the back of the wind” and “dips his wings in the orange sun rays.” Upon reading this is an image of the bird traveling to anywhere he would like without bound, and a person would experience a wondrous sensation and happiness for the bird to be so free. However, Angelou immediately contrasts the second bird in his “narrow cage” of “bars of rage” with his “wings clipped.” Compared to the free bird, the caged bird’s life and situation would seem pitiful and unmatched. Such words evoke a feeling of dread and horror. It leads readers to question how life could be so unfair and cruel to the bird, or the African-American. Maya Angelou intended for readers to question what they have in life, so that they would understand that life could be unjust to their advantage or disadvantage, and try to correct that.
    Where the first two stanzas make it clear to readers that life is unfair, the next three stanzas elaborates on this idea, and attempts to evoke feelings of sadness and pity for the caged bird. Maya Angelou chooses to have the caged bird stand on “a grave of dreams” while the free bird “names the sky his own.” The situation the caged bird is in creates such poignant grief because the connotation in a grave of dreams brings the images of a dismal and desolate world. The connotation of “grave” is especially moving because it intensifies the idea that the caged bird will forever be captured with no opportunity to improve and make itself a better life. By telling of how the caged bird still “sings with a fearful trill of the things unknown but longed for still,” it increases the sense of hopelessness and grief. People then respect the caged bird’s determination to dream, live, and succeed even when it is placed into a world of injustice and inequality. When people begin to respect the African-Americans, Angelou’s hopes for the African-American would be fulfilled.
    The poem’s language is symbolic, but the complex syntax and composition arranges the words in a way relevant to the thesis through repetition. The direct repetition of the third stanza for the last stanza is important to the poem’s thesis. By repeating such a stanza with the caged bird singing for freedom, it emphasizes that things have not changed for the caged bird; however, it still continues to keep hope. Singing is often equated to hoping, as many African-Americans did sing in the early past when they were enslaved. Singing for freedom is transcribed to hoping for freedom. With hope, there is a possibility that one day the African-Americans would rise to a level of equality with the world. There is one line where its alliteration heightens the effect of dismay of the caged bird. Its “shadow shouts on a nightmare scream” explains how the bird’s dreams have become a nightmare with the wretched world it has to live in. He can only “open his throat to sing” for his own good. It represents the terrible life an African-American would have had to go through despite his determination.
    Maya Angelou writes each stanza as one sentence portraying the life of the caged bird versus the free bird. By alternating between the life of the free bird and caged bird, readers can clearly see the difference between the two birds’ lives. This provides the chance to balance the caged bird’s life with the free bird’s by seeing how one can help the caged bird achieve the freedom of the free bird. Without any determination, the caged bird will only retain its hope for the possibility of a better life. Angelou indicates that there is in fact hope for the caged bird due to the rhyme scheme of each stanza. It follows that the first three phrases of each stanza adhere to a strict rhyming without change and symbolizes the caged bird being forced to follow accepted ideas in society. However, the last phrase of each stanza breaks off from the rhyme with the last word being far from the original rhyme: “trill, still, hill, freedom.” The non-rhyme represents the caged bird’s potential to break away from those accepted ideas that white is the dominant race and perhaps rise to that desired level of equality and justice.
    “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” was an accurate portrayal of the lives African-Americans lived back in the mid-1960s, and in some cases it is still a fairly accurate description of the lives some people live today. In many ways it is impossible for the world people know today to live with total equality and fairness. With people come feelings and opinions, and it is also accepted that there are no perfect people. Many have tried to make the world a better a better place for all, but ultimately, one can only persevere and hope for the best.

  69. natalie says:

    this poem is so sad and i like the fact that its ambigious in the way that it can be related to both human and animals, i thought of it more as animals, i study animals and learn about them being caged up and it makes me sad 🙁

  70. Brianna says:

    Zach, she wrote because of her childhood there was a time where she did not speak for 4 years because of issues with her family and she writes saying that the the bird is a symbol of her and now that she is free from that drama she can sing

  71. Zach Green says:

    Why did Maya Angelou write this poem? Does anybody know exactly what she means? And no, please no comments from drama queens who think that the poem was written specifically for them.

  72. lauren says:

    I need help with finding some imageries in this poem and explain what they mean. I also need to know why this poem repeats!

    Thx

  73. Surrosh says:

    I got this poem from a friend of mine(jess) who definitely understands me more than i let on. She sent me this poem because this is exactly how my life is.. I feel like im a bird in a cage and the only song that i have is of freedom. As the poem kept going, i realized that Maya Angelou is right about the fact that the free bird thinks of another “breeze” while the bird that is caged only constantly thinks about freedom and the dreams they would have if they were free. That is exactly how i felt too. This correlates to me because my life is similar to this in so many ways. Parents have no right to cage their children and my message is that if they do they will suffer and make their children suffer as well. I dont have to sing for freedom anymore because i have it. But i will never be truly free from my parents grasp if i dont let them go completely. Financially, and emotionally..
    but my two cents to this poem are that i love it, that Maya Angelou knew the message she wanted to convey and she did and it came out loud and clear, the price of freedom, the duality between having freedom and not having it… i love this poem. i’m going to first thank jess for sending it to me and then im going to print it out and keep it by me. It’s very inspiring, and i thank maya for writing this poem.. it definitely described my feelings within.

  74. marc says:

    i like the birdbrain metaphor. we are all imprisoned within the bars of our own ignorance. i think it is sadly restrictive to examine this poem in light of racial issues.

    i really dislike this poet. in all of her poems that i have read, she seems entirely obsessed with comparison and a sort of competitiveness. i have my doubts that these things are any sort of stepping stones on a path to freedom.

  75. Loretta Fisher says:

    i notice that my mother Eunice Johnson was mention in the book, she was married to Bailey Johnson before she died. I would like to talk or e-amil Maya Angelou about the past, or talk to her brother Bailey Johnson

  76. Patricia Belmont says:

    Dear Friend from Bosnia, I fear that for generations born in America, sleeping in comfort on the graves of brave fathers and grandfathers, I fear that many have no idea that they are free, that they have never known true bondage and, sadly, have no idea how “precious freedom is.”

  77. ADMIRA says:

    This poem was written with very simple words and in a simple style, but still it says a lot. When you read
    “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.” it makes you wonder “does humanity actually realize how precious freedom is???”

  78. Brittany Livengood says:

    The poem I know Why The Caged Bird Sings has inspired me to read more poetry. The feeling that this poem brings out in people is extrordinary. To be caged up and have no will of your own is one of the greatest sins of all time. This poem tells how they must of felt, how horrible it must of been.

  79. Antonio Borrega says:

    It’s notorious that this poem show the suffering of a people whom was forced to work like slaves even when slavery was over, and it’s also a critic for those who insult those who are equal to them.

  80. elsaruiz16 says:

    Analysis
    I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou’s touching poem revolves around the theme of freedom. On the subject of freedom Maya Angelou impressively uses effective metaphors, choice words that resemble her people, themes, diction, rhythm scheme, imagery, and paradoxes that bring out within Maya and the reader feelings that represent thriving anger and injustice. Justification implied in the title demonstration how the speaker, the poet, can feel what her people went through when slavery was around.
    In the first stanza, Maya Angelou uses imagery to show display to the reader how the soul is so alive and filled with excitement when it is free and unbounded from impulsiveness. Angelou uses imageries that are so strong to invoke such thoughts of being imprisoned come across the spirit of the unbounded bird. “Leaps on the back of the wind” and “dips his wings in the orange sun rays” enrich the readers senses to reflect on thought of being so free and alive. The choice of words that Angelou uses reflect that simple natural elements of nature represent a visual play ground for the bird. The reader imagines an energetic bird flying so high into the sky where he has reached the furthest and no longer can fly anymore; a bird living life to the fullest and have that great choice to guide himself where ever he wants to. These word that are transcribed by Maya give the reader a colorful feeling of happiness.
    In the next stanza, however, Maya writes in depressing and stark voice. Such images and metaphors that are completely opposite from those of the first stanza.
    “Narrow cage”, “bars of rage” and “wings are clipped” express a feeling of terror and fear. The irony and paradox shown in this stanza are displayed in magnitude because of the pleasant imageries in the first stanza. “Bars of rage”, a metaphor that represents the imprisonment of innocent slaves throughout history. This unpleasant dissimilarity makes the reader want to have sympathy from the bound bird. As the reader wants to show sympathy they cannot help thing why such an unjust act was done to this bird. Ironically the drawn out cruel life that the bird owns as compared to the free bird makes his destiny seem so far conquered by misfortune.
    The choice of words additionally adds sadness and grief to the eyes of the reader. “Grave of dreams”, a metaphor, creates a sorrow because the imagery echo’s itself to despair and misery. The irony that extends the poem is that tragic fact that the bird still sings. In the last stanza “The caged bird sings with a fearful trill of things unknown but longed for still” represents that even thou he is inescapable his dreams and future are still there edging the fact that they might seem impossible. This verse gives the reader hope that even in the toughest moments they will overcome. The alliteration found in the poem stretches the idea of the depression the reader admires about the caged bird. The repetition in “shadows shouts on a nightmare scream” creates an effect of strong determination that does not fade regardless of the harsh circumstances the bird faces.
    In the rhyming of the poem each stanza follows the rhyming scheme of AAAB, as in the 3rd and 6th stanza. The flexibility of the first two lines in the stanza following a rhyming scheme symbolizes the imprisonment of the bird. However, the third line in the same stanza is unique and does not follow the prior rhyming scheme. The last line of the rhyming scheme gives hope to the bird which signifies that as long as the bird sing his dream of freedom will come true. Analysis
    I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou’s touching poem revolves around the theme of freedom. On the subject of freedom Maya Angelou impressively uses effective metaphors, choice words that resemble her people, themes, diction, rhythm scheme, imagery, and paradoxes that bring out within Maya and the reader feelings that represent thriving anger and injustice. Justification implied in the title demonstration how the speaker, the poet, can feel what her people went through when slavery was around.
    In the first stanza, Maya Angelou uses imagery to show display to the reader how the soul is so alive and filled with excitement when it is free and unbounded from impulsiveness. Angelou uses imageries that are so strong to invoke such thoughts of being imprisoned come across the spirit of the unbounded bird. “Leaps on the back of the wind” and “dips his wings in the orange sun rays” enrich the readers senses to reflect on thought of being so free and alive. The choice of words that Angelou uses reflect that simple natural elements of nature represent a visual play ground for the bird. The reader imagines an energetic bird flying so high into the sky where he has reached the furthest and no longer can fly anymore; a bird living life to the fullest and have that great choice to guide himself where ever he wants to. These word that are transcribed by Maya give the reader a colorful feeling of happiness.
    In the next stanza, however, Maya writes in depressing and stark voice. Such images and metaphors that are completely opposite from those of the first stanza.
    “Narrow cage”, “bars of rage” and “wings are clipped” express a feeling of terror and fear. The irony and paradox shown in this stanza are displayed in magnitude because of the pleasant imageries in the first stanza. “Bars of rage”, a metaphor that represents the imprisonment of innocent slaves throughout history. This unpleasant dissimilarity makes the reader want to have sympathy from the bound bird. As the reader wants to show sympathy they cannot help thing why such an unjust act was done to this bird. Ironically the drawn out cruel life that the bird owns as compared to the free bird makes his destiny seem so far conquered by misfortune.
    The choice of words additionally adds sadness and grief to the eyes of the reader. “Grave of dreams”, a metaphor, creates a sorrow because the imagery echo’s itself to despair and misery. The irony that extends the poem is that tragic fact that the bird still sings. In the last stanza “The caged bird sings with a fearful trill of things unknown but longed for still” represents that even thou he is inescapable his dreams and future are still there edging the fact that they might seem impossible. This verse gives the reader hope that even in the toughest moments they will overcome. The alliteration found in the poem stretches the idea of the depression the reader admires about the caged bird. The repetition in “shadows shouts on a nightmare scream” creates an effect of strong determination that does not fade regardless of the harsh circumstances the bird faces.
    In the rhyming of the poem each stanza follows the rhyming scheme of AAAB, as in the 3rd and 6th stanza. The flexibility of the first two lines in the stanza following a rhyming scheme symbolizes the imprisonment of the bird. However, the third line in the same stanza is unique and does not follow the prior rhyming scheme. The last line of the rhyming scheme gives hope to the bird which signifies that as long as the bird sing his dream of freedom will come true.

  81. Elsa says:

    Maya Angelou’s touching poem revolves around the theme of freedom. Throughout history slavery and racisms has been one of the largest issues during the course of time and the word freedom has had so many impacts in the negro society dating back to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s magnificent speech, “I Have A Dream.” On the subject of freedom Maya Angelou impressively uses effective metaphors, choice words that resemble her people, themes, diction, rhythm scheme, imagery, and paradoxes that bring out within Maya and the reader feelings that represent thriving anger and injustice. Justification implied in the title demonstration how the speaker, the poet, can feel what her people went through when slavery was around.
    In the first stanza, Maya Angelou uses imagery to show display to the reader how the soul is so alive and filled with excitement when it is free and unbounded from impulsiveness. Angelou uses imageries that are so strong to invoke such thoughts of being imprisoned come across the spirit of the unbounded bird. “Leaps on the back of the wind” and “dips his wings in the orange sun rays” enrich the readers senses to reflect on thought of being so free and alive. The choice of words that Angelou uses reflect that simple natural elements of nature represent a visual play ground for the bird. The reader imagines an energetic bird flying so high into the sky where he has reached the furthest and no longer can fly anymore; a bird living life to the fullest and have that great choice to guide himself where ever he wants to. These word that are transcribed by Maya give the reader a colorful feeling of happiness.

  82. stefanie says:

    this poeme really got to me it how i felt alot growing up still do at times .i have autism so it like being lock in your own body .i cant all ways verbly let out how much i know and understand .that why i like this poeme

  83. shoe says:

    ur poems are good there inspirational

  84. ana says:

    this poem is in fact the best one i ever read in my 17 years of life and its just good. this poem to me means that maya once felt like a Caged bird that she would always cry and feel trapped but indeed kept her dreams still alive and ready to pursue in which when she got older she became a freed bird singing and her dreams were really pursued

  85. Cheryl says:

    Paul Laurence Dunbar did indeed write a poem entitled “Sympathy” which can be read on this website at https://www.americanpoems.com/poets/Paul-Laurence-Dunbar/15528. It is a different poem from Maya Angelou’s poem “Caged Bird.”

  86. Mary Marsh says:

    Paul Laurence Dunbar wrote the poem “Sympathy” in 1896, not Maya Angelou. She used the poem’s first line “I know why the caged bird sings” as the title of her autobiography. Please give credit where credit is due!

  87. ayada says:

    this poem by far is the best of
    maya angelou.
    becuase it makes you think.
    well, at least it made me think.

  88. jas says:

    I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou is a poignant poem that revolves around the theme of freedom. Maya Angelou masterfully uses paradoxes, choice words and elements of rhyming and rhythm, to bring out within us feelings of sympathy, anger and a large sense of unjust.

    In the first stanza, the poet uses imageries that are near astonishing to invoke within us images of unbounded freedom and spontaneity. “Leaps on the back of the wind” and “dips his wings in the orange sun rays” delightfully enraptures our senses. Nature and its elements are portrayed as the playground for the bird. We imagine a bird high in the sky, flying where he wants to, and having a time of his life. We are transcribed through the poet’s choice of words into this feeling of wonder and joy.
    However, in the next stanza, we are met with a stark contrast to the previous imageries formed. The words “narrow cage”, “bars of rage” and “wings are clipped” evokes a feeling of dread and horror. What makes these feelings more immense in magnitude is the fact that this is such a paradox from the happy imageries formed in the first stanza. Because of this horrible contrast, I feel so much sympathy for this caged bird. The fact that life has drawn him a cruel lot as compared to the free bird makes his fate indescribably pitiful. I as the reader cannot help but feel a sense of indignant and unjust as well – Why is life so impartial and so unfair?

    Not only does this sharp paradox weave out these feelings from me, the choice of words further amplifies my sadness in this tale of injustice. “Grave of dreams” creates a thudding sense of sorrow in me because through this imagery of dreams in graves, we are transcribed into a gloomy and empty world. This is because the words echo the finality of captivity as well as the impossibility for a better tomorrow. What then heightens this sense of tragic, is the fact that the caged bird still sings – “The caged bird sings with a fearful trill of things unknown but longed for still”. We see the futility of it all, and yet we are immensely moved into feelings of strong empathy and grief. The caged bird has been cast into a wretched, inescapable lot yet his dreams are still there, no matter how tenuous and impossible. In a way, we are also made to feel a sense of awe, amidst these feelings of despondency and hopelessness, with the birds determination even in the face of impossibility.

    This feeling of saddened awe is intensified by the alliteration found in the poem. The repetition and persistence of the letter “s” in “shadows shouts on a nightmare scream” has the effect of creating a sense of steely determination that does not weaken, despite the circumstances.

    However, the rhyming of this poem has to be the most inspiring device that the poet uses to fully evoke a contrasting feeling of hope. Each stanza follows the rhyming scheme of AAAB (thrill, hill, shrill, freedom). The rigidity of the first three lines in following a rhyming scheme signifies the captivity of the bird. The rhyme seems to be like a chain, holding the bird down to his dire circumstances. However, what is most poignant is the last line, which goes unmatched and does not follow the previous rigid rhyming scheme. This shows us how, perhaps, hope still survives. As long the caged bird continues to sing and hope for freedom, hope can never be entirely extinguished. The last line is like the light at the end of the tunnel, the promise at the end of a dream.

    In all, the poet has masterfully transfixed us into this poem, bringing alive a myriad of feelings within us. This is something so beautiful, that despite the disparity of it all, we can feel a sense of freedom. Just the like the bird, we can be free to feel. And that, perhaps, is wonderful enough.

  89. Casondra says:

    Maya is one of the best poets with the use of symbolism. In the political view of this poem, you can see her informal protest of slavery. her suttle words such as rage and sighing trees show the big difference in lives of the birds. I would reccommend this poem to anyone looking for something with sybolism.

  90. Karen says:

    I think the line breaks are wrong in this version of the poem. Check out other versions of it.

  91. chavon bodnar says:

    this poem is beautiful. I have done reports on her poems and she is amazing! i’m glad that i found this poem. 🙂

  92. carolina valenzo says:

    This poes is very interesting. Its about freedom and the will to be free.if you read the poem and analized good this poem is kind of sad. because the cage bird can not be free. its a cool poem.

  93. Pam says:

    As i required to complete an assignment on poetry, i came across this poem. Immediately i found solace in this poem as i relate it to being caged by the materialistsic society where results are basically what that matters. Do i still have the freedom to pursue what i wish for, such as in Art? i can cry just like the caged bird, hoping for liberation. Thanks for writing this poem, it voices the opinions of many people. (:

  94. Aon says:

    I can only speculate on the reason(s) Ms. Angelou wrote this poem, but I think it speaks of her experiences not only as an African-American, but as a woman as well.
    The opression and restrictions placed on her as an African American woamn I could not begin to imagine, I can only guess at them based on the biases and prejudices I have experienced in my own life.
    I connected with this poem because I could see myself as that caged bird “..his wings are clipped and his feet are tied…” who only wants to be freed to experience the same hope and happiness that the free birds feel.
    Thank you Ms. Angelou

  95. katrina says:

    this poem is so wonderful. It meant so much to me, because I know people who are very much like “caged birds” and even I, even I myself I also know this feeling!!!

  96. Brenda says:

    My sister in law told me about this poem and she feels this is a poem that tells her to let her kids be free and take challenges in life and travel the world and do the best that they can. Cut the apron strings and let them fly.

    I also look at it a different way and it depends on what is happening in your life at the time you read this. My son has been dating a girl for 2 years and they are beautiful together…however, I can see he wants to be uncaged and fly free to do whatever he feels. He is trying to break off the relationship and she feels she can’t go on without him. We too love this girl and she is beautiful and she will be swept off her feet by many guys…what do you do? Be caged or be free? Will he regret it later on or will he not even though he still has a love for her? He is confused.

  97. Alberto says:

    I felt what Maya Angelou was saying in this poem. I know everyone has already put in their opinion about what she meant, I’d just like to say that I really appreciated that feeling…that understanding. It was a well-written poem and I was able to connect with it on so many levels, that feeling can never be communicated with any other words or analyses. Oh, and that Thomas guy should try to understand that feeling too. Just because someone doesn’t write correctly or use proper grammar doesn’t mean that they don’t get the beauty behind the poem. To Thomas…learn the basics first.

  98. Alice says:

    This poem is…well, frankly, the hamster on the wheel inside my head is too tired to think of any worthy descriptions. There’s just a feeling to it, a tone, a flavor that warms you and chills you. Everyone is caged…everyone wants to be free. Hundreds, thousands, possibly millions of men and women have lost their lives in the pursuit of freedom…it would be better to be dead, sometimes, than to live life out safely behind bars, shackled with our wings clipped. A day as a free bird, unfettered and unchained, is worth a lifetime of safety cooped up, sometimes. What do you think?

  99. Thomas says:

    The poem itself is beautiful. It is a shame so many of the people providing comments claim to be “studying,” yet cannot spell or use grammar. Learn the basics first.

  100. Barbara says:

    I love the poem. It isn’t for any certain people, it’s a poem that has no barrier, a parable for all that are caged, confined, trapped. It may be by obligation, situation, limitations of health– any situation that cages our desires. I know why the caged bird sings and if you think about it, you do too.

  101. KIA says:

    I LOVE THIS POEM I RECOMEND THIS POEM TO EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  102. Jasmine says:

    I am currently studying Maya Angelou’s work in companrison with Alice Walker at A-Level. I found this poem so entriging and how complex an interpretation can seem so perfect. I believe the poem is about struggle and how hope still can come out of a somewhat gloomy situation. I would like to thank everyone on this site, it was brillant to read how people of different backgrounds intrepreted this poem. Be in peace x

  103. TiFfAnY says:

    This poem has nothing to do with discrimination, read it more on the figurative level, literaly it talks about a free bird and his rights to leap and fly everywhere, and then there is the caged bird which cries and longs that his song of freedom will be heard. You can put in that she as well speaks for a person who feels so trapped that all they can do is watch and hope to be heard! Mrs. Gawronski of Katella helped me realize to not jump to conclusions and just beacause an African American person wrote the poem does it mean its about alvery and longing to be free, but it can also be about life and viewing life! So don’t jump into conclusions.

  104. Theerawat Soonthararak says:

    This poem is so great and powerful for human so muz. This is because Maya shows the discrimination between White And Black people in many USA or many countries and she can show the power or the abilities of the black to fighting for freedom. No matter they are prisoned with the things or the society they still sing a song like the man who never take of a dream…. Be pound for our life whatever colour is good and noting bad at all++ love this poem and want you to read it too. thanx

  105. michael says:

    i think this poem is very good how ever i need to do an assighnmant on it and i would be very thankfull for some feedback thanx … god bless

  106. Allen says:

    Hey there caged birds. We all are caged birds to a degree. Something holds us at one time or another and keeps us from reaching our full potential. At first glance this poem seems to be somewhat melancholy. But after taking a deeper look, you see that the only thing that could not be caged is the song the caged bird sang. So even when you feel caged or imprisoned, find the strength to sing. You will be heard. Be in Peace.

  107. Sharon says:

    I love this poem merely because it is not just about the civil rights movement but anyone who has ever felt like a caged bird understands…your freedom to express how you feel is taken away,this poem is sooo much more powerful than just people looking at the name Maya angelou and ultimately thinking oh it must be about African americans and our struggle.Please when you read this poem i pray that you will see its meaning,many people feel like this whether it be someone who has others chose what path they are to take,gays and etc. who are afraid to express them selves and “come out of the closet” because people have always enstilled in their heads “their views and how “you” should be” but people must come to realization that it isn’t about what others think…if people will stop and realize what we do to each other and if you feel like a caged bird,then you will understand and get a deep meaning of this poem…God bless

  108. Ayla says:

    I like this poem a lot because I can relate to it. I feel like the caged bird sometimes and I just want to be free!

  109. Molin Kadirire says:

    Thank you for bringing out why “we” the caged birds sing.
    You have been an inspiration to me and opened my eyes in so many ways. I look for your books only now that I have read two f your books.

  110. Mikara says:

    This poem was very inspirational to me. I absolutely loved it. All of Mayas work is excellent and if you haven’t read her other poems you should, just google her and you’ll find lots of poems that can be very inspirational to you.

  111. Keith says:

    Well Well Well, its about time someone said that… thanks nat. Though I do disagree with you. Just because a poem may be about something bad or sad it doesnt stop the poem’s (or poets, if you know what i mean) greatness. This is a wonderfull poem and I think that Maya is a great and insperational person. what happened to her was terrible and not one person can fix it… but I think that Maya does a pretty damn good job of writting poems about that experience that everyone can truely feel.
    You rock Maya Angelou… your and insperation to all thoughs who need inspiring.

    Love Keith

  112. Natalie says:

    I love your poem!!! It is soooo good. I wish i could write poems like you!

  113. Nat Fearnley says:

    This poem is about Maya Angelou’s life and even if you don’t necessarily enjoy it yourself, be respectful and think about what this poem means to her. Don’t you know what happened to her when she was a child? If you don’t, you’d better find out and cut the crap about thinking you know what a good poem/poet is. Just because a poem is obvious doesn’t mean it’s a bad poem!Some of the best poems are very obvious, and this one is hardly obvious and clear at all. If you think it is boring, that’s your problem, not the poets’. Remember, this is personal work that doesn’t have to be any certain way, and if you don’t like it, don’t read it!

  114. Calian says:

    the poem ” i know why the caged bird signs” evokes emotions out of the readers be it good or bad. The rhetor uses rhetorical strategies of repetition such as assonance and alliteration. one could critically analyze the poem and observe the analytical comparisons of the free bird to the caged bird. this symbolizes the Civil Rights movement and the cry or plea for african-americans and whites as well as other races to be equal.

  115. justine says:

    i love this poem! it isnt just good but it shows obstacles that might be in one’s life. it shows the difference between a free person (or in this case bird) and one that is not free. the

  116. Samantha says:

    Does Anyone know who published this poem, and where it was published?? E-mail me please!!

  117. Paige Hardy says:

    This is so inspirationaly. It’s so really. i love you Maya. You are so great.

  118. abby says:

    This poem is the first poem I have read that ever made me feel something. I know its good because hours after I’ve read it my mind travels back to it and my head runs through the words to try and find a deeper meaning. It is truely some of her best work.

  119. shawdai lemon says:

    I think this poem was really lovely and kind. i really did enjoy it.cau u write me an poem about love and e-mail it to my address.well by the ways THANKS AGAIN
    LOVE ALWAYS:SHAWDAI LEMON
    P.S. WRITE BACK SOON!!!

  120. falencia says:

    that poem described you so well you did a great job on it I wish I could write poems JUST LIKE YOU !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  121. Freddy Nolove says:

    This is why poetry is dying. This poem is obvious and boring. Maya Angelou is a great woman but a lousy poet. Boo.

  122. Vicki says:

    this poem is very nice. I like her materials. I lovvvvvvvve this poem!

  123. stefanie says:

    i really relate toi this poem .i have a disibility .and growing up w/one is hard your allways trying to prove you can do stuff like everyone else you want to be like everyone else .even when you cant .then there lots of ingorents and predugyut from people who dont give you a change that come from teachers i had some who were good my family hrelped me alot and still do .but people are afried of what diff .that there hanicap

  124. Kristen Ayscue says:

    This was one of the most beautiful poems I have eva read. I to like to write poems. I loved the way the poem described the way you felt.At least by the way it was writen it seems like that is how you felt.

  125. Alma Wallace says:

    This poem is an excellent portrayal of the struggles of life itself and the way in which different people in possibly the same situation, view the obstacle. Life condition plays an intrigal part in whether we win or lose in life; I do believe that Maya Angelou depicts these choices in this most powerful poem and the namesake for her autobiography. In that too, she so aptly made aware to the reader, that determination and courage are most important in overcoming hardships; also the way in which one views one’s situation is adamant in the eventual outcome. Kudos to this most eloquent and down-to-earth woman, whom I look to as a literary mentor.

  126. Brittany says:

    I really love this poem. It just inspiring and i can’t get enough of Maya Angelou

  127. maggie says:

    i thought that this was herworst work yet she is a powerful black women who represents for me and my life strugglesbut not in this poem.

  128. symonne says:

    i thought that this was her best work yet she is a powerful black women who represents for me and my life struggles.

  129. Ossie says:

    Rently my twelve year old son had to do a class project that involved poems. He chose “Caged Bird” probably because I play it often in the car on the Brandford Marsales CD. We had many discussions because he didn’t quite understand the significance of caged birds and free birds. It became very clear to him as we drove through our neighborhood and I compared ours to some of the whealthier ones we sometimes drive through. We also discussed the difference between those who are poor and those who are not. In an instant it became very clear to him why you used these anologies. Thank you so much You are the greatest. Peace and Blessings

  130. Rosita Ortega says:

    I had to read Mya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings for a classic college project in english. At first when I heard it was a biography I groaned. Automatically I assumed it was going to be a dull book about someone’s sucky yet reimbursing life. Boy, was I wrong. It truly is a classic and I encourage many to read this inspiring novel!

  131. Claudia says:

    This is one of my favorite poems and Maya Angelou is my favorite author. At my school we are reading the book “I know why the caged bird sings” and it is a very good book. I really admire Maya’s work, especially this poem!!!!!!! I really recommend it!!!!

  132. Mary Brown says:

    If you’ve read Mia’s heart of a woman you will also understand this poem even more.

  133. Ammu Vijay says:

    Angelou is an awesome poet. She puts a lot of feeling into her poems and inspires me. Her poems have deep meaning and I am so glad she is a poet. She makes the worls an interesting place to be. THANKS, MAYA ANGELOU!

  134. jessica flores says:

    I reallyliked your poem.It was very butifull are you sad in the poem itwas nice

  135. crystal says:

    My step-daughter has to do a essay on the caged bird, I read it once and didnt really read it, but know she has to memorize it for a presentation, so she says it outloud over and over and every time i hear it it makes me think of the courage this woman had to pull through and to be that caged bird no longer.. TO BE Free!!!

  136. KaguyaHime says:

    That poem is so inspirational, it makes me feel like im in a shore on the beach watching the waves flow and hearing the song sung in my head. I feel so, so, good, i really cant describe the feeling. Its like when you take a deep breath and you exhale slowly while you are day-dreaming romantically.

  137. Rod Rippke says:

    Here is a poem I wrote after reading ‘…Caged Bird…’

    Golden sunrise…morning dew glistens…the serenity of silence. A song bird shatters the calm like a sledge hammer through a plate glass window. I grab my .22 and fire…silence once more. The glory of the sunrise.

  138. joanne joyce says:

    I know now why Mya Angelou is held in such high asteam.After Reading her accoplishments and poetry my breath is taken away.I thank God for putting a person like Maya on this earth. For us to benefit from Her wisdom and talent,She is undoubtly an icon in our midst to be cherished forver.Stay well, Mya Angelou.

  139. Imani says:

    I am a 8 year old girl and I did one of Maya Angelous poems called (Don,t Quit) it was the bomb.

  140. MeShea says:

    This poem makes me fearful yet it is inspiring. I felt suffacated when I read about the caged bird. My throat felt closed as though I couldn’t breathe. But, the fact that though caged basically enslaven, it could still sing is encouraging. I’ll keep these words near to me to remind me of the freedoms that I take for granted everyday. It’s a reminder to be grateful to God for my today and to humbly remember our yesterdays.

  141. Lucinda Fava says:

    Dear Ms. Angelou: I read your poem and re-read it and then I sent a copy of it to my youngest son who recently became incarcerated. Upon visiting him a bunch of young men stood up and said Ms Fava thank you for that poem..Your son read it to us and then we put it up on the wall by the tv..those words inspire, make us think and make us cry..We realize we are so like the caged bird just wanting to be free again and appreciate those things in life we never noticed..So Ms. Angelou I want you to know many young incarcerated men in Schenectady County have been blessed by your poem…A grateful Mother

  142. douglas gray says:

    I am in ninth grade and i donot read very much poetry. but this is a very good poem and it hocks you in. i like this poem alot.

  143. lord_lau says:

    hello i’m a boy from the netherlands and i have to write an essay about a poem. I chose this poem because i really like it.
    but i dont know how to analyse it, can someone help me?
    and give me some information about the black experience?

    thanks in advance

    lau

  144. broderick says:

    I thank God for my friend patrick washington for sharing this poem with me it touch me and blessed me helped me to go higher inthe Lord

  145. Estefania Espinoza says:

    This poem is great. Ms. Angelou describes all of the pain and torment that Blacks had to go through during the Civil Rights Movement. I mean she should know anyways because she was there fighting for her rights on the picket line. She tells of the enclosement and segregation shown by the cage. The bird was all of the Blacks. The caged bird sings for freedom so no matter if you clip it’s wigs or tie it’s legs it won’t stop fighting for what it wants – freedom. Estefania 13

  146. jasmine says:

    she is an amazing woman, she has been through so much and survived. she is an inspiration to women every where. her poems and novels are so well written and full of passion. i love this poem its emotive and universal.

  147. Nina Swenk says:

    WOW! This is by far the most incredible poem I’ve ever read! The power and meaning that Ms. Angelou puts behind this (and all of her other work as well) is so completely compelling! A poem like this is the kind of thing that anyone in any time frame can relate to whether it’s 200 years ago, today, or 200 years into the future. The truth is, we’re all slave to SOMETHING in this world; and that’s not necessarily so bad, but it is true. The message that I got from this was that when you “clip someones wings” you’re taking away their freedom; you might as well have taken their life, because taking something so precious as freedom, is just like taking life. That’s God’s job and it should stay that way!

  148. josh harper says:

    this is the best poem ever

  149. kelly:) says:

    I love this poem, it is one that almost anyone could relate to in some way. plato and socrotes had a theory that we live in an idea world, as souls trapped in our bodies, prisoners in a way… this came to mind when I read the poem again today. not only are we all slaves to our own body, in a sense everyone is a slave to something else besides their body and its needs as well, wether that be fashion, work, addiction, obsessions, food…. or to a majority of things of the material world.. but one day we can claim the sky as our own too, when we are all truely free. mya angelou is a caged bird singing ~ that poem is one of her songs. my granda smoked cigarettes for 60 years and i saw in her in her hospital bed with tubes and iv’s hooked up on her. she was a caged bird, when she passed away everything was unhooked and she had a peaceful look on her face, she was not in pain anymore, she is free. know i too know why the caged bird sings…

  150. Teresa says:

    I am 41 years old and have been writing poetry since I was a teenager. I have never published, nor do I intend on, publishing any of it. I have always been inspired by the way that Ms. Angelou can use rather common words, yet express such a deep felt meaning that runs through out your soul. You feel and re-feel every word and every thought she intended. Her work comes to life on paper and performs freely for the reader to visualize. Her work is phenominal and I will continue to be one of her admiralists.

  151. Rachel says:

    This poem, these words are like a knife piercing the heart of a fragile child. This poem captures all and everything we need and want. You cannot lock something up or someone up and expect it to grow and learn and be happy. NO! everything needs its freedom.You must cry out and show you need to be free,to be loved. I know why the caged bird sings, the caged bird sings for freedom. Something we all need to sing for, cry for, breath for. for the caged bird can only sing, for freedom.

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