I Know Why The Caged Bird Doesn't Sing

 

 

'I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse, perhaps, to be locked in.'

Virginia Woolf

 

 

I know why the caged bird doesn't sing

And why God-given feather falls in spring

The ruthless month bespeaks regeneration

And flight from climes that temper inspiration

To climes where climbs the stallion sun

Envoy of death-blows dealt and done

Vaulting the hurdle of the season

Whilst overruling rhyme and reason

Reckless florescence bursts its stays

And bears blind seed of future days

Rain-sown in heat and glorious folly

Oblivious of winter's volley

For Sibylline November wreathes

The Hope that free midsummer breathes

It mulches cankered autumn sepal

Reveals the worm within the apple.

 

In gilded prison with wings pent

The linnet mourns his element

Preserved from naked thorn and frost

Whilst honeyed halcyon days are lost

Spent life can yield – the seasons show it

But the caged bird can never know it.

 

 

 

and yet...

 

'FROM my spirit’s gray defeat,

From my pulse’s flagging beat,

From my hopes that turned to sand

Sifting through my close-clenched hand,

From my own fault’s slavery,         5

If I can sing, I still am free.

 

For with my singing I can make

A refuge for my spirit’s sake,

A house of shining words, to be

My fragile immortality.'

Sara Teasdale