Caged Bird

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.

-Maya Angelou

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Still I Rise 

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

-Maya Angelou 

Ode

We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers
And sitting by desolate streams;—
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.

With wonderful deathless ditties,
we build up the world’s great cities.
And out of a fabulous story,
we fashion an empire’s glory.
One man, with a dream, at pleasure
shall go forth and conquer a crown.
And three, with a new song’s measure
can trample an empire down.

We, in the ages lying,
in the buried past of the Earth,
built Nineveh with our sighing
and Babel itself with our mirth.
And o’erthrew them with prophesying
to the old of the New World’s worth.
For each age is a dream that is dying,
or one that is coming to birth.

-Arthur O’Shaughnessy

Milk and Honey

Most importantly love
like it’s the only thing you know how
at the end of the day all this
means nothing
this page
where you’re sitting
your degree
your job
the money
nothing ever matters
except love and human connection
who you loved
and how deeply you loved them
how you touched the people around you
and how much you gave them

-Rupi Kaur

Song of Fortune

Man and I are sweethearts
He craves me and I long for him
But alas!
Between us has appeared a rival who brings us misery.
She is cruel and demanding,
Possessing empty lure.
Her name is Substance.
She follow wherever we go
And watches like a sentinel,
Bringing restlessness to my lover.

I ask for my beloved in the forrest,
Under the trees, by the lakes.
I cannot find him,
For Substance has spirited him to the clamorous city
And placed him on the throne
Of quaking, metal riches.

I call for him with the voice of knowledge
And the song of Wisdom.
He does not hearken,
For Substance has enticed him into the dungeon
Of selfishness, where avarice dwells.

I seek him in the field of Contentment,
But I am alone,
For my rival has imprisoned him,
at the cave of gluttony amd greed,
And locked him there
With painful chains of gold.

I call him at dawn, where Nature smiles,
But he does not hear,
For excess has laden his drugged eyes with sick slumber.

I beguile him at eventide, when Silence rules
And the flowers sleep.
But he responds not,
For his fear over what the morrow will bring shadow his thoughts…

-Kahlil Gibran