The Great Cage

A cageful of chickens,
Stockpile for a kitchen.
A cageful of squawking
From the dead meat walking.

Eggs are gathered in morning;
Meat is chosen in evening.
One chick’s allowed for every hen;
The rest are chucked to canines’ den.

For they greet the butcher’s hand with glee,
The cage has no need for a key.
And between greedy pecks of feed,
The fowls mock the skies of the freed.

They huddle closely in their shit,
Absorbed in their clucking wit
Of 50-cent opinions,
While preening unused pinions.

Hear, hear, to the roosters’ rave,
Screeches in their morning rut:
“Arise, ye who refuse to be slaves!
With our flesh and blood,
Let us build ourselves a new Great Cage!”


Colin Lee



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8 thoughts on “The Great Cage

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    1. Thanks for the compliment, Jilly. To understand this satirical piece, you have to know this quote alludes to a certain country’s national anthem. As depicted by the song, the regime’s initial ambition was one rebuilding a great tradition of freedom and equality in the face of oppression. The historical irony, however, is that the lyricist of this anthem died amidst political persecution and torture — in the hands of this very regime that sings his words. And you probably are aware of where it headed after …

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      1. Yes, Colin, I am aware of what happened, as well as those words and the man who penned them. It is often in any struggle for freedom that the voice of poets, playwrites, and artists are silenced too quickly. As a teacher, I have taught English as a Second Language to people from more countries than I can count; refugees from Burma, those fleeing oppression in Sudan, war in Iraq, crime in Brazil, and many more. In spite of all our differences, we are much the same. The common thread is the desire to live lives free of the cages; to build something new and better. Your voice is essential for many reasons and there are those who see, hear, know why the need exists to build anew. Peace, my friend.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you, Jilly, for your earnest response. I’ll cherish your precious word for the rest of my life. You have a different front in the civilised west — one that resists the liberals from liberating their logic and the conservatives from consuming their morals. It’s nevertheless only in the balance of democracy and continual growth of economics where the hungry, under-represented and caged see the hope for change in a practical light. So, in spite of the differences, even our battles are likewise one and the same. Peace to you too.


  1. A deeply pondered, deeply worded adjunct to be added beside your yesterday’s post. “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” — Benjamin Franklin In our country, people who have not learned the lessons of other chicken coops are striving to overthrow those who have pried open the bars. Chicken in English also conveys the meaning of cowardly, afraid.

    Peace and regards to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Charley. You spoke my mind through the Franklin’s quote. And yes, chicken was specifically chosen, not duck, goose or turkey. The obstacle on our road to freedom isn’t merely strongman politics or corrupted bureaucracy, but that of a deep-rooted fear for freedom. The majority is apt to shut up or self-censor to maintain the trust of the butcher and the security from the cage. Worse still, many of the chickens sneer at the bloody fights of the eagles and boast about their economics in front of the smaller birds outside the cage, as commonly expressed in their 50-cent opinions — state-sponsored propaganda. Very disheartening to see plenty of these chicken-netizens celebrating the death of Mr Liu this week. It’s unthinkable.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The advantage of learning world history is that you see how seldom appeasing evil works. The butcher metaphor is more than apt. Just know that there are others who hold you (all) in our thoughts and prayers.

        Liked by 1 person

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