I Know Why the Free Bird Weeps

I have been thinking of creating a blog for a long time now. For several reasons, primarily laziness, I never got around to it. But events of this past week have been pushing at me non-stop and I ended up giving in. I don’t know what it is, exactly, about the horrific events around the world that made me create this blog. The bombings in Boston were terrifying – I have friends there – but not necessarily something that inspires eloquent verse. The news this morning of a five-year-old in Delhi being raped is probably the most harrowing thing I have read this entire year, but again, not something that would normally make me pick up a pen – or start up my laptop. Neither would the ongoing but no less terrible violence in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.

In the midst of all this chaos and horror, I came across Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”. I cannot recall exactly how this seminal piece of literature came across my screen, but there it was. And it pained me to admit that, as a bird safe in his own little cage, far away from all the violence and pain, I was singing too. Songs of pity, of admonition, of hope – but only songs at the end of the day. I was safe; the birds in the open were not. I felt helpless. And at that point, I thought I would start this venture. It is by no means an attempt to add meaning to my insignificant ramblings, but an attempt at catharsis. A selfish attempt, certainly. But one I hope will add to the chorus out there and make it just a little sweeter.

Here is my song.

Have you seen where the free bird flies,

Across the lands and the torrid seas?

Have you heard her as she mourns,

And grieves the loss of hope, of peace?

 

She came to me as I cried out

One night in my gilded cage,

She sat and listened patiently,

As I told her of my fears, of my rage.

 

She waited until I had none left to say

Then silently flew into the night,

To sing a song of dreams and grace

So other birds would join the fight.

 

She went to a crumbling Empire

To sing as millions lost their voice,

She went to where the oppressed rose up,

To demand they get an equal choice.

 

She went into the winter’s end

Only to see spring fade away,

She went to where the children learn,

But they never saw another day.

 

And as she flew, she came to see,

What the caged bird could only hear,

And as the horrors tore her heart

She cried her first anguished tear.

 

Now the free bird flies all day

And in the night she does not sleep,

You may know why the caged bird sings;

I know why the free bird weeps.

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