Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Last night I heard Maya Angelou speak. Our small group chatted the entire way as we rode together to the West Texas A&M campus for the lecture. Charlotte, Daphne and I sat in the back. Lauren drove and Megan rode shotgun. A couple of generations were represented in that car. Still we found lots to talk about--what was going on in our work lives, intolerance of litterers and Megan's dream of becoming a veterinarian.

But on the way back our conversation centered mainly around Dr. Angelou and her talk about finding rainbows in the clouds despite her difficult childhood. We all agreed to being amazed at the enthusiasm she still shows for life and speaking, even at the age of 81 years old.

Since National Poetry Month is coming to a close, I thought I'd post the poem she's known most for. May you find rainbows in your clouds.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

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 suns 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.


  1. I went my critique group and we had a great inspiring evening as well. Wish I'd have known you were there. i would have sought you out to say hi.

  2. Sorry I missed you Travis. What a great night though!

  3. You are so fortunate to have seen this beautiful person. Her poetry is so touching.