Birds Who Choose To Fly

“Real men” keep their feelings trapped inside

Like a caged bird.

A simple idea,

Yet still too complex for a young child.

A child, forced to believe

That the world looks down upon men who openly grieve,

How naive?


To place such pressure on a child,

Like a diamond, 

As he is just learning to support his own perspectives.


To force a child,

Lying in bed at night,

To hate himself for wanting to cry.


From the burden he carried

in trying to compete with his sister’s excellence.

In trying to become his dad’s idea of a “real man.”

In trying to exceed the norms of mediocrity.


Would a “real man” cry?


It was just another Monday, 

In Ms. Neeleman's 9th grade class,

Where he would find the key,

In which unlocks the doors to originality,

To push his mind away from the herd mentality

That confines his humorous and loving personality.

The doors open.


Inside he finds one underlined word,

Along with a definition to the side.

“Poetry: a literary expression of emotion.”

These six significantly simple words implied,

That there was no longer any reason to hide

From the toxic birds-eye-view of masculinity 

That the world provides.


Ms. Neeleman decides,

3 weeks is long enough 

For him to solve this worldly dilemma

Through spoken words he is to recite.


Later that evening,

As he began to write, 

He found himself intrigued, in a world free from red lights.

Free to openly oppose 

The perspectives that previously closed, 

His eyes.


Genuinely surprised,

As he could not fathom

How simple it was for him to conceive

Words upon words,

As his pencil never leaves, the paper.

So much to write,

Yet so little to say.

For so long he felt broken, 

And though these thoughts were unspoken,

He continues writing anyway.


Three weeks pass,

And his time to shine had finally arrived.


“This story is a dream,

Of a bird’s journey to find its voice.

And throughout the course of its journey,

The bird is presented with a choice.


If singing is what it may choose 

Then caged it will continue to be,

Or it shall choose to never sing again,

And, in turn, will be let free.”


For the next 2 minutes and 14 seconds,

As this child continues to sing,

It’s as if his emotions are thanking Poetry,

For the realizations it was able to bring.

It takes more of a “real man” 

To openly express how he truly feels,

Than it does for those men

Who intentionally conceal.

As he ends his poem,

Tears of joy fall down his face,

That he is no longer ashamed to reveal. 


“The bird chooses to sing,

Of course,

Because in a dream,

Everything is a disguise.

So, really, the key to escaping all along,

Was simply to open its eyes.”


This poem is about: 
My family
My community
Our world
Poetry Terms Demonstrated: 


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