Maya Angelou

Empathy for Fledgling Warblers

(for Sister Maya)


Yes, the day is dawning

with sun and subtle currents


calling to these restless wings.

Still we cling tightly to the perch.

This cage is secure.

Its ribs’ embrace


This heart that beats and flutters

like a fledgling bird

yearning for release could be

set free to soar in song

if only we could find the key.

But we line our cages

with the gravity of matters

with all the news that’s fit

to splatter with litter

when it and spirits hit bottom.

No use denying the blues

when you’ve got ‘em.

No way around

the dues to be paid.

You want to fly

but flight’s been delayed.

For now there’s a barricade

and bars define the changes played

for any would-be bird of note

But the caged bird knows

(and here’s the trick)

that just as from the blues

can come a good blues lick

it’s the space between bars

you fill with music.

– Khephra Burns

Copyright © 2019 by Khephra Burns



Khephra Burns is an author, editor, playwright, poet and veteran of television, stage and live events productions. He is a partner and executive with the International ArtsGames Committee (IAC) and senior producer for the ArtsGames. He’s also editor-in-chief of The Boulé Journal of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity.