OTR Celebrates Maya Angelou

Freedom

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou has reached iconic status in today’s world. Even so, her journey was not for the fainthearted.   Born Marguerite Johnson in 1928 in St Louis, Missouri, Maya Angelou lived and documented a time period that changed the course of American history. She lived abundantly and dared greatly.  A singer, dancer, actress, composer, and Hollywood’s first female back director, she was a dynamic spokesperson for human rights.  She is best known for her writing and poetry.

Maya Angelou worked for Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.  When I read Young Mandela: The Revolutionary Years I was not surprised to find that they met before Nelson Mandela was imprisoned.  On different continents, they each walked the same path.  To Freedom.

 

Caged 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 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.

Maya Angelou

 

22 Replies to “OTR Celebrates Maya Angelou”

      1. I missed you too! Even though I don’t have a lot of time to get on wordpress, I think of you often. Thinking of you and your kindness always brightens my day!

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  1. “Young Mandela” looks interesting! I read his autobiography which was great (and Angelou’s memoirs of course) but wasn’t familiar with this book so thanks for the recommendation 🙂

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    1. You would really like this book because you find out what he was like as a young man, full of energy and ideas. Brilliant, charismatic, human.

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  2. What a beautiful poem best best written by one who has experienced life in an unusual way. Interesting that she should used the pictures of caged and free birds.

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    1. Singing within a cage has so many symbolic meanings. I wonder if we don’t put ourselves into “cages” and then wonder how we got there.

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  3. Thank you for a wonderful post. I love Maya Angelou. I was lucky to hear her speech one time when I attended a conference some years ago. She is our inspiration! Thank yo for celebrating Maya Angelou!

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    1. You are indeed very lucky to have seen her in person. She came to Vancouver, but alas, I was out of the city when she came…

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  4. Thanks Rebecca, I really admire Maya Angelou’s poetry, it comes from a deep well.

    Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

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    1. Maya Angelou continues to be a force for good in our perilously divided world. (And so are you!!)

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  5. Out of context here but allow me to share one verse from a Indian folk lore.
    Bird complains her cage is old and worn out,
    Tried reasoning but is resolute for a new one.

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    1. Thank you so much for adding to the discussion. I am going to look further into this story.

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  6. …’the caged bird sings of freedom’… an old timeless motiff in a touching poem.

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    1. And one that resonates in all of us…freedom! Thank you so much for your visit! You always make my day…

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