The Caged Bird


The Caged bird sat
on her perch so high,
looked out the window
and tweeted a sigh.

What are those wonders
that she sees?
The rooftops, lamps
and barren trees?

She chirped aloud
her curiosity,
What is beyond
this cold city?

Enclosed and safe
in her gilded jail,
she cooed a somber
piercing wail.

She stared afar,
through golden bars,
At the passing days,
the moon, the stars.
The Caged Bird sings
her melody.
Her lonesome song,
No harmony.

Then one spring day,
Still with winter’s chill,
A Free Bird landed
on the window sill.

The Caged Bird chirped,
But to her surprise –
The Free Bird squawked
and cocked his eyes.

Confused, the Caged Bird
sang a simple song
expecting the other to
sing along.

But the Free Bird
knew not of the tune.
Instead he blew
his own bassoon.

Where are you from?
The Caged Bird sang.
From where, is what?
The Free Bird rang.

Do you come from here?
She softly tweeted.
Come from here?
Free Bird repeated.
Are you from there?
Gently, she inquired.
From there is where?
Free Bird admired.

She lifted one foot off
off her stand,
and with it pointed
to the far off land.

And finally,
The Free Bird understood,
At least,
As much as he ever would.

That while Caged Bird
sings a delightful song.
Her world-view is
truly wrong.

She sees only as far
as her eyes can seek,
Which isn’t much
past her little beak.

The Caged Bird never knew,
or treasured,
The things that can’t
be sensed or measured.

From the sill
Free Bird lifted his claw,
and pointed around
to all that he saw.
Caged Bird’s eyes looked
across the land –
Sing to me,
So that I can understand.

And Free Bird
Liked to hear her tweet
That sound of sorrow,
So bitter-sweet.

So he told her
of places far away,
of green leaves
on tops of trees that sway.

He sang to her
Of hills and rivers
The way the ocean
Quakes and quivers.

The glide of wings
in early morning.
The gust of wind,
of upward soaring.

He told her of
the lakes and seas,
the pines, the oaks,
the cedar trees.

He raved of how
it feels to fly,
to be in air,
to reach the sky.

He mused as he
explained the night,
as Caged Bird listened
with delight.

He imitated
the cicadas sound,
and described to her
the worms he’d found.

He showed off
his expanded wings
for in return
she coos and sings.

Promise me – she chirped
in her sing-song way,
that you will return
every day,
and sing to me
all that you see,
every hill,
every river,
and every tree.

Yes – Free Bird answered,
with a throaty caw,
and flew off to find beauty
in all that he saw.

So eager was he to return,
and engage her,
that he could not see,
that it would further cage her.

For she saw none
of the places far and away,
the green leaves on tops
of trees that sway.

She saw no hills
she knew no rivers,
nor the way the ocean
quakes and quivers.

She knew nothing of wings
gliding in early morning.
No gusts of wind,
no upward soaring.

She had never known
the lakes,
the seas,
the cicadas,
the worms,
the cedar trees.

She would never know
how it feels to fly,
to be in air,
to reach the sky.

But Free Bird,
because he was so free,
could never understand
what the Caged Bird
could not see.

So ready was he
to share what he saw,
he returned to the sill
and gave a sharp squaw.

Only to find
an astonishing sight.
There was the window,
but the blinds were shut tight.

And so from that sill,
perched way up high,
the Free Bird sings,
but it sounds like a cry.

The Free Bird sings
his melody,
his lonesome song,
no harmony.

– EM