I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

On the pulse of the morning.

What do you think the three objects in this poem (the Rock, the River, and the Tree) symbolize?

Do you think this was an appropriate poem for an inauguration? Why or why not?

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Lines: 1-8

"In these opening lines, Angelou sets the scene and tone of the poem. She places three objects before the reader: “A Rock, A River, A Tree,” but doesn’t give a specific location. These three elemental pieces seem removed from any landscape, and, from the capitalization of each name, it has been speculated that Angelou intends each to stand for itself in a type of grandeur. The poem goes on to explain that these objects are “hosts to species long since departed,” still surviving though their “tenants” are long extinct, further implying they carry a certain “historical wisdom.” From here the poet lists a few of those creatures known only from their “dried tokens” dug up and reassembled in museums. Their “sojourn,” or temporary stay here, ended in a “hastening doom,” which they had no way of predicting or preventing. “Any broad alarm” of their extinction is now dwarfed by the mountain of history between their time and the present.

If lines 7 and 8 are read aloud, it’s possible to hear the rich sounds Angelou crafts into the poem. The repetition of long vowel sounds and the internal rhyme of “Doom / is lost in the gloom” perhaps reflect the somber mood Angelou is setting while describing these extinct creatures."

I loved the poem, but didn't really take it in context. I think it was a fitting view of a hopeful future. Foe a line by line analysis of the poem, simply follow the link below.



Beginning with the recognition that rocks,

rivers, and trees have witnessed the arrival and departure

of many generations, “On the Pulse of

Morning” proceeds to have each of these witnesses

speak to the future, beginning with the Rock,

which announces that people may stand upon its

back but may not find security in its shadow.On the

contrary, says the Rock, humans must face the future,

their “distant destiny,” boldly and directly.

The River sings a similar song, calling humans

to its riverside but only if they will forego the study

of war. If human beings will come to the River, “clad

in peace,” this ageless body of water will sing the

songs given to it by the Creator, songs of unity and

songs of peace.

The Tree continues this hymn of peace and

hope, reminding humankind that each person is a

“descendant of some passed-on traveler” and that

each “has been paid for.” Pawnee, Apache, Turk,

Swede, Eskimo, Ashanti—all are invited by the

Tree to root themselves beside it. Thus united with

Rock, River, and Tree, the poem announces, the

human race can look toward a future of peace and

connections and away from a past of brutality and




Thank you Jill D for answering my question, even though it had nothing to do with "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings"

Thanks, and God bless Rossman