Friday, May 15, 2009

Poetry Friday

On Seeing My First Grosbeak

The Write Sisters sat in my dining room last week, having our monthly meeting. The dining room window overlooks a small, untidy garden on the side of my house where I’ve hung a new bird feeder. Generally, the local residents visit: goldfinch, titmouse, chickadee, the neighborhood cardinals. This time there was someone new, and Sally identified the rose-breasted grosbeak for us.

I’d never seen one before and couldn’t keep my eyes of his bright red bib, his large mouth. He was twice the size of most of my usual customers. So, in honor of my first grosbeak sighting, I thought I’d share a bird poem. While Maya Angelou’s piece decries the caged bird more than it celebrates the wild bird, I think her description of the wild birds remind me why I like to hang a feeder in my garden: to catch glimpses of the tiny animals that “claim the sky.”

Caged Bird

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 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.
This week's round-up is being hosted by Kelly Polark: http://kpolark.blogspot.com/

5 comments:

Sally said...

A beautiful poem that always brings tears to my eyes - Thanks Mur!

Jet said...

Muriel -- it's been a long time since I've read this poem. Thanks for sharing it -- and your grosbeak at our Write Sisters get-together.

I have one at my feeder every year . . . briefly. The encounter, however fleeting, is always fabulous!

Now, have you ever seen a flock of Cedar Waxwings? Remarkable!

Jet

Kelly said...

Grosbeaks are gorgeous. Great poem to go along with it!

Barbara said...

I've heard about this poem so many times over the years, and I've never read it till now.

Wow!

Andromeda Jazmon said...

Grosbeaks are shocking for their size and color, aren't they? So exciting to see one at your feeder! I've been taking a group of 5 & 6 year olds out for bird walks and they are so excited to see every robin or cardinal - it's fabulous!

The poem here is really sad... and beautiful. Thanks for sharing it.