Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Two Souls: Caged and Free

"You can cage the singer but not the song"--Harry Belafonte


"A Robin Redbreast in a Cage
Puts all Heaven in a Rage"--William Blake

"Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage"--Richard Lovelace

"Each work has its own space, which should neither be conceived as a sort of cage nor regarded as extending to infinity."--Marino Marini

"My father always said,"Malala will be free as a bird."--Malala Yousafzai

Midweek Motif ~ Two Souls: Caged and Free

There are many poems on this topic. But today I have chosen only two with distinctly different notes: One by Maya Angelou and the other by Rabindranath Tagore. Tagore’s one is originally a song done in Bengali.

I have also included the song here, for anyone interested in it.

What you have to do today is read the poems closely and then write your own poem about either a free or a caged soul or both.

So….Play with your words.

Two Birds

by Rabindranath Tagore

Cage-bird was in the golden cage, the forest-bird in the wood,
Whatever was the will of God a meeting between the two ensued.
Gushed forest-bird, “Dear cage-bird let’s fly together to the green”.
Cage-bird whispered, “Forest-bird dear, let’s stay here quietly, within”.
To which forest-bird shuddered, “Oh no, I will never be in fetters”.
Cage-bird uttered, “Alas! How will I be out to the woods to be better?”
Forest bird sat outside chirping all the wild notes.
Cage-bird sang the ditty only it had learnt by rote.
Forest bird said, “Let me see you sing the forest songs, dear.”
Cage-bird pleaded, “Why not learn the cage songs my love, here.”
“Oh no”, trilled the other one, “Dictated words are not for me”.
Cage-bird sighed, “Alas! Songs of the woods! How do I sing?”
One said, “The sky is deep azure, nowhere is there a trace of a bar.”
The other replied, “Neat is the cage, and how firm on all sides is the cover!”
Forest bird chirped, “In the midst of the clouds, open out yourself free.”
“Tie yourself safely to secluded home corner”, cage-bird cheeped.
Forest bird refused, “Oh no, where’s there room to fly?”
The other one murmured, “Alas! There’s no perch, up so high!”
Thus these two loved each other but couldn’t get any closer,
In between bars their beaks touched so did their mute stare.
Both failed to grasp the other’s plight as well as their own.
They only beat their wings; called each other to be close; forlorn.
Forest bird cried “Oh no, who knows when shut will be the door”.
Cage-bird sighed, “Alas! My wings have no strength to soar.”

Caged Bird

by Maya Angelou

        A free bird leaps 

        on the back of the wind 
        and floats downstream 
        till the current ends 

        and dips his wing 

        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 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. 

        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.

 Please share your new poem using Mr. Linky below and visit others in the spirit of the community

                               (Next week Susan's Midweek Motif will be ~ Teaching    )



  1. Thank you for the prompt, Sumana, and for the wonderful song!

    1. And another version of the same song, here:

    2. Oh yeah, She has a sweet voice & sings very well. Thank you, thank you...

  2. Thank you for the midweek jolt - once again apologies if i can't return your visits

  3. Beautiful poetry brimming in here...Visited the blog after a long time, and everything seems the same old beautiful here. I have shared my poem, "DID SHE SURRENDER? DID SHE NOT?" Kindly go through it and do tell me if it touches you even a bit... Have a great day ahead!

  4. All of these are favorites of mine, especially these two poems! Thank you. I'll be back to post and to read.

  5. I just got back from being out of town. I went to a family wedding and it was wonderful. It was 40 years since I saw some of my relatives, I usually don't have money to fly. It was so good to be with my people again!

    It's been a few weeks since I've been able to write so I need to get started again. I'm thinking about the prompt and having trouble coming up with something. If I do I'll link.

    I need to catch up on the posts I missed! I hope everyone has a nice rest of the week.

    Hugs! Bekkie

    1. So nice to visit relatives. I just got back from visiting mine, too.

    2. It sure was Sherry! I read you are laying low. I noticed that travel isn't as kind to me as it used to be. I am a little tired now that I'm home for sure! Enjoy your lounging I'm doing the same.

  6. Hey everyone,

    Hope you are having an amazing day so far 💖 sharing my poem 'étaient i libre' thank you Sumana for the wonderful opportunity, this one's for you 💖

    Lots of love,

  7. This prompt jarred loose a memory, from something cool I read a while ago. Hope everyone is having a good week. I am under the weather and laying low..........I love when that happens, LOL. Good excuse not to work hard.

  8. Great prompt! I could have wished for grander subject matter to do it justice, but my little cat was at the forefront of my mind – yet again!

    Very busy week here, but I will be spending some time on aeroplanes in the next few days, so will hope to use it to catch up with everyone else's posts if I don't manage that sooner!

  9. Hi!

    A prompt which made me think. Thanks. Would be reading all other posts and points of view on the same.

  10. Very thought-provoking prompt, Sumana.


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