'I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse, perhaps, to be locked in.'
I know why the caged bird doesn't sing
And why God-given feather falls in spring
The ruthless month bespeaks regeneration
And flight from climes that temper inspiration
To climes where climbs the stallion sun
Envoy of death-blows dealt and done
Vaulting the hurdle of the season
Whilst overruling rhyme and reason
Reckless florescence bursts its stays
And bears blind seed of future days
Rain-sown in heat and glorious folly
Oblivious of winter's volley
For Sibylline November wreathes
The Hope that free midsummer breathes
It mulches cankered autumn sepal
Reveals the worm within the apple.
In gilded prison with wings pent
The linnet mourns his element
Preserved from naked thorn and frost
Whilst honeyed halcyon days are lost
Spent life can yield – the seasons show it
But the caged bird can never know it.
'FROM my spirit’s gray defeat,
From my pulse’s flagging beat,
From my hopes that turned to sand
Sifting through my close-clenched hand,
From my own fault’s slavery, 5
If I can sing, I still am free.
For with my singing I can make
A refuge for my spirit’s sake,
A house of shining words, to be
My fragile immortality.'