Why the caged bird sings II – Shauna Woodbury

Red. Red and afraid.
Born to die.
Living to fight.
Fighting to forget.
Red. Red and alone.
Alone and trailing.
We go. We run.
Beyond the wild within the extreme.
Hide. Ssshh.
Red. Dead. Caged. Done

I’m a 48 yr old woman from Calgary Alberta.
I have two grown sons and three step kids.
I work with the special needs children.
Baseball, beer and writing make me smile.

You can read more of my writing on Facebook.

Why the caged bird sings – Shauna Woodbury

Driven by desire. Fueled by heartache.
Burnt by your fire. Caged behind haunted eyes. Flickers disguised as trust. Blinded by the brightness of your shiny lies and convinced of your reality by your steel eyes.
You make me feel real, alive and very afraid.
You’re a dark shadow over my land. A questionable need I wonder who I really am.
I was once aware of my strength and my direction. Now the yellow brick road and it’s broken one forked path home is what I follow. The road up ahead is led by you and your games. You make them up as you go and I dare not jump to show everyone how I’ve won.
You’re the prize in the bottom of my empty box.
The thin cheap piece I paid a nickel for and spun the crank.
I walked the line. I carried my weight. I picked up on the first ring and I matched every sock.
Tonight I climb the wall. I feel the ankle monitor. I know my wrists are red but up and over!
Careful. The car is old and creaks. You won’t hear it you’re too busy drowning in your embalmed one man corn mash riot.
Still careful. Don’t pull the door hard. Key in. Neutral. It’s creeping forward. And we are away. I start it up. Headlights. Go!
We have miles before daybreak. You have minutes before the headache.
Tonight I went over the wall. Tonight I can’t care at all. Tonight birds fly, cages open and my freedom sings.
I was saved. You were hell.
Angels meet demons everyday but this time heaven kicked hell’s ass.

I’m a 48 yr old woman from Calgary Alberta.
I have two grown sons and three step kids.
I work with the special needs children.
Baseball, beer and writing make me smile.

You can read more of my writing on Facebook.

Why the Caged Bird Sings – Sarah Ritter

Today I sit with my loneliness. I do not push it away, try to smother it, or ignore it. Instead I accept it. I try to understand it. I wrap my arms around, to find the expanse of it, to see just how far it stretched. I peer deep inside to search the depth of it, to see if I can find the molten lava drenched core of it all. Sitting alongside my loneliness, feels like sitting with an old familiar friend. It’s just my thoughts and constant longing for companionship. I don’t tell myself to cheer up. I don’t tell the feeling to go away.

But after a while, I feel discontent in my idle state. I know I need to get on with my day. I understand it is ok to feel this way sometimes and I assure myself tomorrow will be better. But for now, I have things to do, that I must focus on. I welcome the distraction.

Tomorrow comes and yet the loneliness just feels more persistent. Like yesterday’s current just flowed into today’s delta. I try again to accept this loneliness but realized I have not gained any glimpses of enlightenment from my last contemplation. So once again, I carry on.

I sit amongst my chattering peers, pretending to be a part of the social event which surrounds me. I feel that I am neither part of, nor excluded from the outside world. I’m hanging out on the outskirts of inclusion, and the fringes of participation. Though I long to be a part of the social commodity surrounding me, I still feel detached. I’m trying to hang on to the conversation threads I grasp at but doing so leaves me tired and sore.

It’s so quiet in my world void of verbal interactive conversation, in this self-consumed world where I only answer to my own thoughts.  The background chatter fades to a dull, barely noticeable humming. But my thoughts echo throughout my head, till my head aches with exhaustion from hearing them. I long to hear my own voice mixed in with the chatter of conversation. I yearn to pulse with the sparks of connection, to be flooded with the waves of happiness and to feel the oppressive weight of loneliness lifted. So now, I know why the caged bird sings.

Sarah Ritter is a writer and poet whose first poetry collection “Inspirations, Transformations and Revelations: A Poetic Expression of My Personal Journey,” was published in March 2019. In her spare time she writes for her online blog and creates homemade greeting cards.

You can read more of her writing at Sarah Ritter’s Revelations…A Collection of My Poems & Short Stories

The Caged Bird Caterwauls – A Pantoum – Irma Do

I know why the caged bird sings
Sour sweet melodies of human maladies
Vibrating out into the fractured world
There is no accompanying harmony

Sour sweet melodies of human maladies
Poetic squawks implored yet ignored by broken ears
There is no accompanying harmony
When the free birds don’t want change

Poetic squawks implored yet ignored by broken ears
She caterwauls until the cage shatters
When the free birds don’t want change
Her powerful voice portends the power of action

She caterwauls until the cage shatters
Vibrating out into the fractured world
Her powerful voice portends the power of action
This is why the caged bird sings

The first and last line of this pantoum is the same (as the form requires) and comes from Maya Angelou’s literary autobiography of the same name. This book is part of the Feminist Book Title Challenge from Christine at Brave and Reckless. Maya Angelou (1928-2014) was a poet/writer/activist whose words and work centered the reality and truth of her African American female experience. Her poem, “Still I Rise,” is my current mantra especially after reading about the recent incidents of gun violence perpetrated by white supremacists in the USA, as well as the unfettered proliferation of anti-immigrant policies.

Maya Angelou also wrote a poem titled, “Caged Bird” (1983), which has the following refrain:

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.

You can read more of my writing at I Do Run

Featured Post: I know why the caged birds sing – Georgiann Carlson

the song of a caged bird
is the cry of a broken heart
a longing for freedom
for no living being
should be caged
if she has wings
to fly


I’m an artist, a writer, a vegetarian, an animal rights activist, and quite a few other things as well. I love books, cats, philosophy, good conversation, Chicago and the arts. So my blog is full of bits and pieces but it’s the bits and pieces that make life interesting to me. You can read more of my writing at Rethinking Life

Featured Post: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Tamara Fricke

I sometimes talk
to brick and drywall
they don’t mind my weight
and my screams never
make them flinch
and like a potted plant
I lean into their light
whispering to the room
about teacups and spoons.

I always talk
to trees and flowers
tucking in their beds,
cleaning away aphids
since the birds are caged
as we commiserate
with the clouds about
global thermonuclear

It’s not the singing
to the dishes or the
pillow talked laundry
that should scare you –
but that the birds
and I have finally
picked the locks
and are ready
to talk back.

Tamara Fricke is the 2010 co-winner of the Gertrude Claytor Award of the Academy of American Poets and is previously published by The Lyon Review, Meat for Tea, Attack Bear Press Poetry Vending Machine, Whisper and the Roar, We Will Not Be Silenced, and has been included in a number of compilations.  Her poetry chapbook Our Requiem was released in 2014.  She lives in Springfield, MA, with an ungrateful cat, where she writes grants professionally.

Featured Post: I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings – Robert G Wertzler

Have I heard the caged bird sing?
Oh, yes, and she sings so many songs
And in so many ways
Softly, almost secretly she sings
And full throat loud shouting Blues
Or Aria from the opera stage
She sings of what happened
Down By The Greenwood Side
And at Wounded Knee
She sings of ghosts, of Lady Margaret
And Anne walking the bloody tower
With her head tucked underneath her arm
She sings as Carmen of the freedom
To love as she chooses defiant to the end
And Butterfly dishonored and
Her song is the last thing Scarpia hears
She calls out the Hound Dog lover
{Elvis got that from Big Mama Thornton}
And tells Jack to hit the road
She sings the Blues, Rock, Folk, Punk, and more
Every kind and style on every stage and alone
She even sings without words as when
A solo violin voice tells tales
For 1,001 nights to save her life
That caged bird has been singing
Since song was invented
Indeed, she may have invented it
And she will not stop until
There are no more cages

Bob Wertzler is retired from almost twenty years in the mental health field in California and Arizona. There are times the title, “Recovering Therapist”, seems to fit. In 2006 he retired to move to Western North Carolina to help and become primary care giver for his father who had developed Dementia. Before all that, there was work at various times as a soldier (US Army 1967-70), community organizer, cab driver, welfare case worker, wooden toy maker, carpenter, warehouse worker, and other things. He relates to a line in a Grateful Dead song, “What a long, strange trip its been.”

Featured Post: 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

Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Throughout the month of August, Christine will be providing a daily writing prompt based on the title of a seminal feminist book. These are designed to inspire you to write a poem, prose piece, or a piece of flash fiction in 30 minutes or less.

The only rule is that you use the book title as your piece title OR integrate all the words in the title into your piece somehow

If you would like to have your piece considered for publication on Brave and Reckless and Whisper and the Roar, email your prompt inspired pieces to Christine at her.red.pen.wordsmithing@gmail.com.

You can also participate on Facebook by tagging your writing with:

  • # the title of the daily theme
  • #FeministBookChallenge
  • #braveandreckless66

or on Instagram by tagging your writing with:

  • # the title of the daily theme
  • #FeministBookChallenge
  • @christabelle1966

You can also share your response pieces in the comments below the Daily Prompt.

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