‘The caged bird sings with a fearful trill of things unknown
but longed for still…’

A line from the poem “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” written by Maya Angelou, as a metaphor for the anti-slave protests.

 As I read the poem, it felt similar to what the world is facing today with the advent of this new decade; and yet, for different reasons.  As this period of the 20’s emerged many unexpected shifts happened rocking our enthusiasm.  The freedom we once enjoyed had been taken by an unwelcome disruptor leaving many feeling like a caged bird.

The beginning of a new year is usually celebrated with personal resolutions being made, businesses introducing innovative products, new film and television shows emerging, artists tours being planned and vacation travel is at a peak.  That usual activity is for most part on hold for now; causing many to feel caged in and restricted.

The challenge is to stay motivated and to continue dreaming and creating even while feeling as if one’s wings are clipped and their feet are tied.  Facts are… whether we are faced with a COVID issue or other life factors; we sometimes feel as if we are confined and being held captive by a situation.  Our own limiting perceptions of what is possible are major contributing factors to those feelings.

Our motivation is fired up when we are working on something, that excites us.  This is the perfect time to pursue something that energizes and encourages possibility thinking and exploring.  Why not clarify a goal you have put on your ‘someday shelf’ and lay out the plans to get it moving forward this year?  While experiencing a feeling of being caged can become a de-motivator… we must challenge ourselves to use this void as a gift of creative time. 

Seems funny, since much of our normal lives are so busy we often long for quiet self-reflecting times.  And yet, when we get it, we are so used to the hustle and bustle that we don’t know how to slow down and appreciate the stillness. 

Will you take the time now to dip your wings into something you dream of and dare to claim the sky looking for possibilities; by soaring above the confines of your environment?  This present situation is only temporary; be ready to fly out of these surroundings when the cage door opens.

Life and events in our environment will appear as if there is no way to unlock the cage door and sing our song.  There is no cage unless we accept the idea that our freedom has been stolen from us.   This moment is only a perception of our reality; we can choose what we wish to accept as real!   We are always free to manifest, into material form, the thoughts and dreams that lie inside our heart.  Open the cage doors of your limiting thoughts and set your hopes and dreams free TODAY!

This seems a fitting space to insert the words of Maya Angelou’s poem, as an encouraging force in helping to break free of any limits felt for the remainder of this year.


The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
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 fearful trill
of the 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, born April 4, 1928 as Marguerite Johnson in St. Louis, was raised in segregated rural Arkansas. She was a poet, historian, author, actress, playwright, civil-rights activist, producer and director. She lectured throughout the US and abroad and was Reynolds professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University in North Carolina since 1981. She published ten bestselling books and numerous magazine articles earning her Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award nominations. At the request of President Clinton, she wrote and delivered a poem at his 1993 presidential inauguration.

You might enjoy hearing the poem spoken with song.  The link below offers that.





The ‘Wearing High Heels’ Speaker

“A DREAM BUILDER… turning can’ts into cans and dreams into plans!”

Patricia Leonard, President

Patricia Leonard & Associates




A DREAM BUILDER… turning cant’s into can’s and dreams into plans!

© 2021 by Patricia Leonard. All rights reserved

(Written and shared on Reel Luminere’s “WISDOM & ARTS” Column for WIFT Nashville)