Caged bird still sings freedom songs

October 20, 2017

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

When Dr. Angelou used this metaphor all those years ago to represent the racism and oppression of her people, we thought we’d be further along than this, didn’t we?

Back in 1969 we would have expected that racism and oppression would’ve been things of the past, not something so horribly visible well into the second decade of the 21st century.

We couldn’t have imagined that backlash to “take a knee” or that white supremacists would have been given credibility by politicians in power. That Facism would be alive in 21ist century America.

We could never have dreamed up the choice between a madman as President or an uber-reactionary who would have us live in a real life Handmaid’s Tale.

Or that the Equal Rights Amendment would fail to be ratified by the necessary number of states.

No, we thought our freedoms were not only safe guarded by open to all people regardless of race, creed, color, gender.

We were so wrong.

When I read this the other day I saw the confining bars of the cage closing in on us all. And I wondered how we could’ve gotten it so darn wrong.








26 comments on “Caged bird still sings freedom songs
  1. Diane says:

    Achingly true. I never thought I’d be living at a time when I looked around and said, “How on earth did we get here?!”

  2. Mary Lou says:

    Powerful post! It is truly disturbing to see the recent ugly developments. There’s no doubt in my mind that the current president has enabled a good deal of it.

  3. I too hoped and prayed that as a nation we’d much further along, but sadly we are actually regressing, and all those freedoms that were so hard won appear to be disappearing. When one of us is oppressed we are all oppressed. Why is that so difficult for folks to grasp?

  4. That poem is still so unfortunately relevant these days. It’s a shame that I count myself to be lucky to be white. Not because I’m better, but because I have less to fear from almost every direction.

  5. Danielle says:

    It really is heartbreaking that after being written so many years ago, this poem is still so on point in so many ways. Our world should be better than this by now.

  6. I was reading the words that our former presidents spoke yesterday. I truly feel like we are going backwards these days with our current POTUS. I can’t even write his name. It’s so sad.

  7. Pam says:

    It’s always sad when we don’t seem to learn from history. Then we are all doomed to repeat it.

  8. Meagan says:

    That is such a beautiful poem. I haven’t heard that one before.

  9. Isn’t it heartbreaking when you think about it? Even up to now we have to deal with so much hate in the country that we call home.

  10. Our Family World says:

    It is happening around the world. The racism, the divide, the greed and corruption. Sometimes I feel safer when I am locked up at home. I can only hope and pray that all this will come to an end.

  11. Wendy Polisi says:

    I guess I have a different outlook on the things going on in our world. I see things get better in many areas. I suppose it’s positivity we must look at it with 🙂

  12. Theresa says:

    I’m not sure we’ve gotten any worse. I think with the rise of internet, more stories are just brought to our attention than they were even just 20 years ago. As much as I’d like to think that we could live in a world of rainbows and butterflies, humans have proven time and time again that there will always be hateful people out there who will be intolerant of others and try to spread the negativity as much as they can. Misery loves company.

  13. kristi says:

    It’s tough to raise kids and have them see how things how currently. I try to teach them to be nice and not judge, simple but do the best we can.

  14. Rita says:

    My goodness, I couldn’t agree more! As a woman in her 30’s walking around with a pre-existing condition based on gender alone, I constantly worry about my health and what this current presidency will do to harm it. Add to that the fact that I am also a Hispanic/Latina who has never dealt with bullying on account of my ethnicity as much as I have in the past year alone, I fear where we are headed. The world is becoming a very scary place.

  15. Sapana V says:

    Very nice lines. Simple words that speak a lot.

  16. I think it’s pretty obvious how we got here. White people don’t want to recognize the problem and we allow politicians to get away with terrible things because of it.

  17. Afroza Khan says:

    That poem always gets me. So true and beautifully written. It’s a scary time we are living in right now and I just look for the positivity in this world. Which honestly is getting harder and harder each day.

  18. Brandi says:

    This is a great post that hits home. I’m shocked at the state that we are in right now.

  19. Ananda says:

    i still don’t know how we got such an unqualified person in the whitehouse! on the positive side, i do believe there will be more people bringing love and balance to the world when there is caos!

  20. jill conyers says:

    I avoid talking politics but it all makes me very sad. I ask myself often. How did this happen?

  21. Racism exists and always will exist in this country, as will sexism. I get the disappointment that you experience from that realization. I just think that you have to realize that in comparison with so many other different places, we have so little to complain about. And then we move on to trying to inform and help people overcome their pasts and move on to a brighter future.

  22. Aitza b says:

    If you think about it, there are still people living who are only one generation away from knowing someone who was enslaved or someone who was a slaver. Same can be said when we look at those who fought for sufferage. Americans like to believe we’ve come so far but we haven’t. We just check on trophy box and stop doing the work that matters. Until this with privilege actively stand up for marginalized groups, we’ll never see true change.

  23. Kim says:

    This is such a powerful poem. It is upsetting to see the division in this country.

  24. Jaleby says:

    Great poem ,I don’t know where the world is heading up…Religion, colors, borders… but all we bleed red

  25. Anastasia says:

    I chave ups never believe that in our age it is going to Ben like that. It is so sad that a lot of people still have this inbox thinking 🙁

  26. Jake Ferrer says:

    It’s really sad that in every part of the world, such thing still exist. Should it be better, as the legendary Michael Jackson sings, “Heal the world. Make it a better place. For you and for me and the entire human race.”

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