Live Virtual Group Session: 2pm EDT June 6th 2020

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this session!

Our text was “Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou, posted below.

Our prompt was “Write about a time you either sang or heard the caged bird’s song.”

More details on this session will be posted soon, so check back!

Participants are warmly encouraged to share what you wrote below (“Leave a Reply”), to keep the conversation going here, bearing in mind that the blog of course is a public space where confidentiality is not assured.

Please join us for our next session Monday, June 8th at 6pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.

We look forward to seeing you again soon!

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.

Maya Angelou, “Caged Bird” from Shaker, Why Don't You Sing? 
Copyright © 1983 by Maya Angelou.

5 thoughts on “Live Virtual Group Session: 2pm EDT June 6th 2020

  1. Bee Martin

    Paris 18 th winter 1980 ” algerian quarter” .
    Grime,cold, coals,smells of drains, damp, noisy,shouting, squashed in
    Broken by the joyous melody of the small caged yellow birds – above and some how outside the squalor- free?.


  2. Sakshi

    “All day,the caged bird wears shiny trinkets,
    And swallows pebbles of gold,
    her dreams and sleep are lost
    in city walls made of smoke and noise,
    for a royal golden cage is still a cage,
    and screams are songs lost in rage.”
    Also,thank you for such a wonderful session. Looking forward to more of these.


  3. Hailey Haffey

    Students struggle to communicate through their situations. They need validation through writing, through research. Students feel the difficulty of being objectified as a focal point or center, and at the same time need to make analysis and to contribute within the uniqueness of their voices. I had a refugee student anxious about English who wanted to be a doctor or go into healthcare. The challenge was to help nurture and to provide validation to this very talented young woman so that she could continue to grow without fear when it was clear that in some past instances the classroom had functioned as the cage that held her back—through absolutely no fault of her own. Thus, it is key to think of ways my position as a teacher can either encourage or help free her, and about my responsibility to her that goes with those abilities.


  4. I heard the caged bird’s song from a distant hill,
    melancholy tones carried by the storm clouds bubbling up above.
    Notes of sadness, of confinement, of an impoverished spirit
    lay in the air,
    crying to be heard,
    crying to be heard.

    A flock of sparrows flying overhead heard the song,
    but continued their flight through the threatening skies.
    Unconcerned, unencumbered
    by the plight of their fellow kin,
    by the plight of their fellow kin.

    If only they would join in the song of the caged bird,
    forming a crescendo of freedom cries echoing over the entire land…
    We hear your cry,
    we are here with you!
    we are here with you!

    And so I listen to the lonely song from the distant hill,
    Keep hope in your heart, my friend.
    The winds of change are rushing by,
    carrying your song to all in its path.
    carrying your song to all in its path.


  5. erika nelson

    I always wanted to sing. I was never a good singer, having inherited my lack of singing talent from my father who also loved so music, especially opera, and had always wished and longed he could sing well. We were both told it was better to stay silent. I went to see Marci Lynne one day, determined to learn how to sing. She was the singing expert in Austin and I, young and ambitious, was ready to be a star. I had barely opened up my mouth and sung one note when the tears just came streaming down my face, when the hot shame that I must have stuffed inside me for so many years began to seep out. I shut my mouth quickly, overcome by embarrassment and a sense of humiliation, so familiar to me, so familial in nature, so many centuries of shame and belittlement that I don’t know where it all came from but there it was in that first audible, barely sung note that must have sounded like a cry of a wounded caged bird, loud and shrill and off key, corrupted by its own society and lack of place and sense of worth. I still don’t sing much but I no longer carry those pains of old as once I did.


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