Paul Laurence Dunbar

Black History Month Day 6.

Sympathy
By Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)

I know what the caged bird feels, alas!
xxxWhen the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,
And the river flows like a stream of glass;
xxxWhen the first bird sings and the first bud opes,
And the faint perfume from its chalice steals—
I know what the caged bird feels!

I know why the caged bird beats its wing
xxxTill its blood is red on the cruel bars;
For he must fly back to his perch and cling
When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;
xxxAnd a pain still throbs in the old, old scars
And they pulse again with a keener sting—
I know why he beats his wing!

I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
xxxWhen his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,—
When he beats his bars and he would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
xxxBut a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings—
I know why the caged bird sings!


This poem is in Public Domain.

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