Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Maya Angelou: On Finding Her Voice.

I love Maya Angelou's poem, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings"...but, I never realized she pulled her inspiration from a poet that truly inspired her most amazing career.

Inspiration finds us all, and always...it slips into our presence, sharing its light against our path.

Inspiration feeds Creativity's spirit...and inspiration has the capacity to change this world.

The following poem, Sympathy, was written by Paul Laurence Dunbar in 1899. He was one of the very first, nationally-accepted African American poets. In the video following, Dr. Angelou discusses the impact these words has on her...and how, inspiration found her.

I was likewise moved, and hope that you don't mind if I share.



Sympathy by Laurence Dunbar

I KNOW what the caged bird feels, alas!
When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,
And the river flows like a stream of glass;
When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,
And the faint perfume from its chalice steals —
I know what the caged bird feels!

I know why the caged bird beats his wing
Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;
For he must fly back to his perch and cling
When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;
And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars
And they pulse again with a keener sting —
I know why he beats his wing!

I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,—
When he beats his bars and he would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart's deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings —
I know why the caged bird sings!"