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Invitation to Poetry: Freedom

I had such fun with my first Invitation to Poetry posted a couple of weeks ago and loved reading all of your contributions so here is another invitation for you, my wonderful readers, to add your own words to the image below.  This is a simple collage I made in about five minutes during a design elements class I took while at the art retreat, but something about it really speaks to me — the tension between the open cage and the open feathers speak to me of the promise of freedom.  What does the image evoke for you?

Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email with your poem or other words / reflections / meaningful quotes / or song lyrics that come to you inspired by the image.   As they come in I will post everyone’s contribution below and provide links back to your blogs if you have one.

“And finally, she was able to break free of the pain and worryied projections of her old life
And bloom into a new radiantly-feathered version that was honestly her”
– Suz Reaney


“Liberty is not the power of doing what we like, but the right of being able to do what we ought.”  – Lord Acton

Freedom so often gets confused with detachment…pretending what we do doesnt impact others (or if it does so what) and so just doing whatever we feel like. Thats not freedom, its detachment. Freedom to me rather is “He is the Vine we are the branches”….freedom is a branch connected to the vine rather than not. With the flying image, how different it feels when a branch swings in the wind while connected to the tree, rather than torn off the tree and tossed in the air. Its the former to me that’s true freedom…

-Wendy at Table Tales


“And the peacock smiled to herself and thought, “some day, that may be me!”  -Sharon


cages behind me,
wings unfurled,
what is this deep scarlet universe saying to me?
God be close in our times of fear.

-April Stanley


expanding to full
gifts in use!
from longing once known
confines of abuse

shining time
at last i’m living!
away with sorrow
only forgiving

-Eileen Miller at You may say I’m a dreamer


the gilded cage opened and streams of life drifted outward.
the eyes of the peacock watched intently and knew freedom was at hand.
fire burned all ‘round promising to ignite and threatening to consume,
still the eyes of the peacock watched.

-Kayce Hughlett at Diamonds in the Sky With Lucy


The cage door quivered by a blast
Of the peacock’s colors,
And loosened by the strength
of his call and his song,
And opened by the unfolding
of his iridescent tail,
And one lone feather
Caught in the wind
Floating to unfasten the lock.

-Timothy Moody at The Longer Look


The open door beckongs and brings…


Will it slam on outstreached wings…?


Outside scarlet speaks and sings of…


One last glance and now I’m…


Singing Owl


Oh, proud peacock
with your paisley plumage,
are you sure
you want to forsake
your black and white confines
for life
outside the cage?

-Elaine  at The Edible Balcony Garden


“There are dreams of love, life and adventure in all of us.  But we are
also sadly filled with reasons why we shouldn’t try.  These reasons seem
to protect us, but in truth they imprison us.  They hold life at a
distance.  Life will be over sooner than we think.  If we have bikes to
ride and people to love, now is the time.”  – Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Contributed by Pamela McCauley


What is freedom?
An open door,
a proud display of beauty?

Could it be that
true freedom
lies within,
and that many a trapped heart,
walks through an open door?

Could it be that
true freedom
shows itself in another guise,
and many a proud display
hides a guilded chain?

What is freedom?

-Sally Coleman at Eternal Echoes


Freed from the cage that bound me
Freed from the cramped quarters
the rules
the waiting…
Allowed to wander
to seek the path You designed…
My life a patchwork of seeming sameness…
block here.
block there.
day in.
day out.

“Peahens don’t strut,” you say.
“They don’t have the need to.
It wouldn’t be natural.
So, just get used to that cage
and be happy.”

Wait – God unlocks the door! I spread my wings!
I show my stuff!
And wonder why I didn’t see
for all those years
that I was ready to fly…


at Another Unfinished Symphony


“Get back in your cage
Bright colors and jewel-toned plumage are not for the likes of you
Yours are the bars, the doors, the lock
Drab colors and confinement to hold you back”

But I am
if sometimes dark and down,
still more full of life than your cage can contain

Breaking the bars
Leaving open the doors
Shattering the lock
There is nothing now between me and you
Nothing to keep you from my heart
or me from yours
Nothing to hide behind

Only light, life, love
Brilliant color from the Light-Giver to us both
Seeing us with the Creator’s technicolor dream vision
and not the sackcloth we might clothe one another in
not the ashes of our failure
but God’s own goodness reflected,
remaking in us an Image
so different from our own

Anne Sims at Telling Stories and Learning Faith


True freedom
lights me from within,
and though the cage door
is closed,
still I am free!
For these bars do not hold me
and even in the dark night my
heart will sing.
Songs of joy
will burst forth
until the cage
melts away,
and freedom,
true freedom,
overcomes all that
seeks to hold
me captive….

-Sally at Eternal Echoes


open window

The smell of the sea wafts in
through our open windows,
curtains billowing like full
sails of a tall ship riding
waves of adventure.

From upstairs, I can see
the small whitecaps landing
on the sand with gentle
introductions; it’s hard not
to feel free on such a day.

They found Chet underneath
his upstairs window early
one Amsterdam morning.
Despite all the melodies,
he thought he needed

a needle to be free.
When I hear his horn
I wonder why he couldn’t
find wings in the music
that carries my heart

out beyond my burdens.
Perhaps it felt different
on the other side of the horn.
Some places breezes can’t blow
no matter how open the window.

-Milton at Don’t Eat Alone 


Unfinished Dream

It’s just a bird in a cage.
That’s the way things have always been.

It’s just a few dogs.
Look away, there is no real crime here.

It’s just a woman.
How dare she expect anything more.

It’s just one of those people.
They don’t belong, why should we care?

It’s just a bird.
But I reached out and opened the door.

And then I saw,
It was not just a bird.

chartreuse ova


shaking out
a thousand uncaged eyes –
the peacock shimmers.

Crafty Green Poet



She wore the burden
of beauty not well.
And so one day,
escaping her cage,
a prison no more,
she stood still on the ground,
and found no one noticed.

She missed the acclaim
so spreading her feathers she
tried to return to
the confines of old.
But failing she found
a thousand eyes on her.

Happy at last!

-Rich at Pilgrim Path



She preened herself
at the edge of the cage
in preparation

Her dream before her
after a lifetime
of captivity

fly or fail?
she’d rather die trying
than remain


she preened herself
at the edge of the cave
in preparation

because not to fly
was not part of her dream

she was made to fly
and God willing
she would do so

-Lorna Koskela at see-through faith


Kathy Flugel Stone shares this apt quote from Emily Dickinson:

Hope is the thing with feathers
that perches in the soul,
and sings the tune without the words,
and never stops at all.


Beautiful words!  Keep them coming and I’ll keep adding them. . .

-Christine Valters Paintner @ Abbey of the Arts

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25 Responses

  1. I thought of how we try to capture beauty to behold it and keep it—how art is what gives us hope… one from Emily Dickinson:

    Hope is the thing with feathers
    that perches in the soul,
    and sings the tune without the words,
    and never stops at all…

  2. oops… I meant ABOUT Chet Baker, not by Chet Baker. I should let that mistake stand, so that I can give Milton his due.

  3. I was captivated by Open Window by Chet Baker. I tried to put a comment on the Don’t Eat Alone site, but am not sure it made it. So, I will say that I read the poem over and over. It builds from the beginning, but once there is the reference to Chet under the window, I was hooked. The rest of the lines are all masterpieces. Thank you.