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 wasn't writing about birds, of course - her poem is a metaphor for racism. That poem does, however, serve as an excellent description of one of the great avian conservation challenges of our time, and one that I'll be writing about tomorrow - the Asian songbird crisis.