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March Slice of Life No. 15
Poetry Friday

I read a blog post; on that post, I clicked a link about a book.
On Amazon I chose to “Look inside” and read a poem . . .

The Bird
By Arthur Symons (1865-1945)

I have grown tired of sorrow and human tears;
Life is a dream in the night, a fear among fears,
A naked runner lost in a storm of spears.

I have grown tired of rapture and love’s desire;
love is a flaming heart, and it’s flames aspire
Till they cloud the soul in the smoke of a windy fire.


I googled the poet and started reading his poems.
That is how I happened upon “Caged Bird” by Arthur Symons.

The Caged Bird
By Arthur Symons (1865-1945)

A year ago I asked you for your soul;
I took it in my hands, it weighed as light
As any bird’s wing, it was poised for flight,
It was a wandering thing without a goal.
I caged it, and I tended it; it throve;
Wise ways I taught it; it forgot to fly;
It learnt to know its cage, its keeper; I,
Its keeper, taught it that the cage was love.
And now I take my bird out of the cage,
It flutters not a feather, looks at me
Sadly, without desire, without surprise;
See, I have tamed it, it is still and sage,
It has not strength enough for liberty,
It does not even hate me with its eyes.


Of course, it immediately made me think of Maya Angelou’s “Caged Bird.”

Caged Bird
By Maya Angelou (1928-2014)

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.

Continue reading…


Then I remembered another poem about a caged bird, one in a gilded cage.

A Linnet in a Gilded Cage
By Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830-1894)

A linnet in a gilded cage, —
   A linnet on a bough, —
In frosty winter one might doubt
   Which bird is luckier now.

But let the trees burst out in leaf,
  And nests be on the bough,
Which linnet is the luckier bird,
  Oh who could doubt it now?


Finally, my wanderings led me to a poem by “one of the first influential Black poets in American literature”–Paul Laurence Dunbar. { I found a copy of Dunbar’s OAK AND IVY, a book of his poems (1893).}

By Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)

I know what the caged bird feels, alas!   
When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;   
When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,   
And the river flows like a stream of glass;   
When the first bird sings and the first bud opens,   
And the faint perfume from its chalice steals—
I know what the caged bird feels!

I know why the caged bird beats his wing   
Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;   
For he must fly back to his perch and cling   
When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;   
And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars   
And they pulse again with a keener sting—
I know why he beats his wing!

I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,   
When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,—
When he beats his bars and he would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,   
But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,   
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings—
I know why the caged bird sings!


March 2019 SOLC–Day 15
Thank you to

Two Writing Teachers

This week’s
#PoetryFriday Roundup
is hosted by Heidi at 
My Juicy Little Universe

Poetry Friday Schedule Jan – June 2019