I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Marie Prichard

When her song catches your ear
And you hear it in the distance
Do you ask yourself why the caged bird sings?
Or do you say,
I know why the caged bird sings.

She sings when her world closes in
Locked in a gilded cage
Beautifully displayed
On her scrolled stand
Suspended high.

She sings in mourning
As she loses herself
Claimed and coveted
Kept apart away from admiring eyes
That are not yours.

She sings as you applaud
For capturing your little songbird
With expectations that her lilting song
Will reach only your ears
Making only you smile.
She sings for her freedom
Her song floating on wisps of wind
A call to her feathered sisters
Warning of gold-wrapped bars made of steel
And jailers who speak pretty words of devoted adoration.

She sings to remind herself
Of who she used to be
When there were no barricades
To keep her contained
When she could soar as high as she chose.

She sings when she is strong enough
The moment she decides to leave captivity
When her song becomes her own
And she flies far, far away
From where the caged bird once sang.


Marie Prichard is a longtime writer and educator. She lives on an island in the Pacific Northwest with her wife, their two wiener dogs, and a Munchkin cat. She loves reading, writing, walking the beach, and filling her wife’s pockets with heart rocks. You can read more of her writing on Medium

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