The meaning of the poem "Sympathy" by Paul Laurence Dunbar is that, as an African American man, the poet empathizes with the bird locked in a cage and the lack of freedom he feels as he views the outside world. The poet understands that the tune the caged bird sings, misunderstood by so many as a happy tune, is similar to his own song, "a prayer...from his heart's deep core."Continue Reading
The poem begins with "I know what the caged bird feels." Dunbar paints a picture of a bird confined behind bars looking out at the world in springtime in all its fresh beauty, yet he is only able to enjoy it from afar. Dunbar relates to this because he feels that he is confined to a world where freedom is not his, and he is only able to watch the free world from his prison.
The second stanza begins "I know why the caged bird beats his wing." Dunbar knows the bird wants to be free, but he is only able to go back to his perch. Dunbar, the son of former slaves, understands because he is still unable to go where he wants, and his world is limited. He feels the old scars, and the pain resurfaces as sharp as ever from time to time.
The third stanza begins "I know why the caged bird sings." Dunbar says it is not a joyful song but "a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings." The poet knows, and he empathizes because he also sends a similar plea.Learn more about Poetry
Beowulf is a poem written by an unknown Anglo-Saxon poet around 700 A.D., and it follows the story of a warrior named Beowulf who travels to Denmark with a small group of men to fight a "demon" named Grendel. Grendel attacks King Hrothgar's kingdom every night for years after the noise from a party makes him mad. Hrothgar showed Beowulf's father favor once, so Beowulf asks to repay Hrothgar by defeating Grendel.Full Answer >
InspirationalStories.com features Raymond A. Foss's poem "Your Usher," which honors the position of church usher, as the poet reflects on an usher he once knew. The poem is brief at only ten lines and could be easily read at an usher's anniversary.Full Answer >
"Bluebird" Bukowski refers to noted American poet and author Charles Bukowski, who wrote a poem titled "Bluebird." In the poem, Bukowski acknowledges a small, bluebird-like center to his emotional make-up that he keeps out of sight of others.Full Answer >
According to Beaming Notes, "The Inchcape Rock" is a poem in ballad form by the English poet Robert Southey. The reef referenced in the title and text is located near Scotland's Angus region, in the North Sea.Full Answer >