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Sunday, December 27, 2009

that birdcage thing goin' on here


Ann Veronica by Van Renselar
Ann Veronica by Van Renselar



I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
~by Maya Angelou

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.

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12 comments:

Phivos Nicolaides said...

I am not sure if the caged birds sing! Vey nice words Lydia.

Lydia said...

@Phivos- They sing, but only sometimes from happiness I think. I had a Peach-faced Lovebird as a pet and, oh, it's a long story how Winnie got his freedom. Maybe I'll blog about him someday!

Snowbrush said...

I had never actually read this poem. Thank you for posting it. I can't pretend to understand what it is like to be black...

My thoughts as I read ran to chickens who live out their short lives in egg factories. Eggs from cageless hens sound a good alternative, but there is no one to verify that what you're buying was really produced more humanely.

I saw a video three months back of baby roosters being put on a conveyor belt and dropped, still alive, into a huge blender, and I stopped using eggs. I felt bad enough about it anyway, but that was the last straw.

Lydia said...

@Snowbrush- Your comments stuck with me all day yesterday and into the night, when I cleaned out the fridge of the six remaining eggs and offered them to the raccoons in their wildlife bowl out back. I haven't been eating many eggs since my last cholesterol test, and I'm not saying I'll never eat another one, but . . .

I can't pretend to understand what it is to be black, either. That's one reason I treasure black writers/artists (Nikki Giovanni is a favorite) who give me a glimpse.

Hope you are recuperating nicely and I wish you a happy, healthy new year. :)

Snowbrush said...

I don't know nothing about Giovanni other than that she's a poet--right? Anyway, I have a funny story (well, it's not THAT funny really) about Richard Wright. He wrote "Invisible Man." The book resonated with me more than with most while people, perhaps, because Richard Wright grew up 30 miles from where I lived in Mississippi, yet I never heard of him in high school literature or in college literature despite the fact that he was a major 20th century writer. Small wonder that he felt invisible!

Here's the hatchery video. I told Peggy about it, but she expressed no interest in watching it, and hasn't slowed down her egg use all that much. She made me a lemon pie for Xmas because I always liked them. It took several eggs, and I ate it, and I enjoyed it, yet I must confess that i would have preferred something else. When we subject other species to such cruelty when there's no reason for it except for having a certain taste pass through out mouth, it just doesn't seem right to me. Yet, I eat fish, so I can't say I'm consistent. It seems to me a matter of how MUCH cruelty I am willing to cause. Because I am willing to cause some cruelty doesn't mean that it's no worse to go whole hog (so to speak), and say to hell with it. I gave up meat and fowl around 1983, and eggs are something that I can now give up as easily as not. I'll eat them as part of a bigger dish when Peggy cooks with them, but she knows it's not my first choice, and I do most of the cooking anyway.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jerdA9s5dDc

"I can't pretend to understand what it is to be black, either."

Did you ever read "Black Like Me," a book by a white man who had his skin color temporarily changed by a dermatologist and the traveled the South a a black man? He later died from the chemicals used in that change.

Lydia said...

@Sagebrush- Richard Wright's Invisible Man...I read it in college! This is strange...the class was "Black American Literature" and had few students, none of them black. Such were the times in the early 70s. I learned a lot from Wright's writing and now I'm wondering if I hung onto that old paperback. I'll look for it.

Never read Black Like Me but I remember the reviews/commentaries and it is sad, but not shocking, that the author died as a result of his experiment.

Thank you for sending the link, but there is no way that I could watch it. I come completely undone by viewing any picture or film that has anything to do with animal cruelty, and rarely subject myself to them. The thought of it is enough to call me to action, cause me to write a check for a cause, etc. etc. etc.

Happy New Year!

Beth Niquette said...

That speakse to my heart...

A Happy New Year to you, dear girl! I pray your coming year will be filled with amazing adventures, laughter and joy! May you have strength through the hard times and peace throughout the new year.

Lydia said...

@Beth- Yours iss such a beautiful New Year message and means a lot to me.
Much love and appreciation for your wondrous eye on the world (and sky). xo

Suzanne Sergis said...

It's been a long time since we've talked so I stopped in to say hello. Wow, such changes since the last profile pic I saw of you...you've cut your hair, got braces, etc.

Hope life is going well and you are still ridding yourself of life's clutter! :-)

~ Suzanne
365 Days of Decluttering Challenge
Taking Care Of You

P.S. The attribution for this picture made me do a double-take...my maiden name is VanRenselaar. ;-)

Lydia said...

@Suzanne- Isn't that ironic the similarity between your maiden name and the photographer's? Means you were meant to drop by now! And it was such fun to have a comment from you. I'm still decluttering, although it went slowly toward the end of 2009. I also still wish I had a helper, but oh well....
Hair is still shoulder-length; it's in a braid in this new photo.
I will be by to see you soon.

Roxana said...

there is so much pain here, yet so much hope as well. it reminds me of Rilke's panther, where there is no hope left:

The Panther
(Translation by A. S. Kline)

His gaze is so wearied from the bars
Passing by, that it can hold no more.
It’s as if a thousand bars were given him:
And behind the thousand bars, no world.

The soft pace of his powerful, supple stride,
That draws him round in tightened circles,
Is like the dance of force about a centre,
In which a greater will stands paralysed.

Only, at times, the curtain of his pupils
Silently rises – Then an image enters,
Rushes through his tense, arrested limbs,
And echoing, inside his heart, is gone.


a happy yer full of joy and creativity for you, Lydia!

Lydia said...

@Roxana- O, heavens, this is such a beautiful beautiful poem. I cried when I read it. Rilke is a favorite of mine, yet I was unfamiliar with this particular poem. I thank you SO much for leaving it here to grace this post.
Thank you, too, for your new year wishes - the same is wished for you!