Kafka’s Cage

“I am a cage, in search of a bird” – from The Blue Octavo Notebooks

Emptiness echoes off my pretty bars,
as polished and shiny as they are
and, every day when you pass by,
you will hear me heave a sigh.
I am a cage trapped here below,
gazing into an expanse of blue,
in search of a bird to fill my space
with a cheerful song and a friendly face.

Kim M. Russell, 24th September 2019

Image result for empty bird cage
Image found on istockphoto.com

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Poetics: Kafka for Kids

Amaya is back this week with a rather unorthodox prompt. She tells us that she recently read a comment on how to proceed should a neighbour’s tree fall on one’s house, which described the hoops through which one has to jump for the insurance money as making ‘Kafka look like a children’s author’.

Which is why Amaya has asked us to look at a selection of quotes from the modernist German writer, Franz Kafka, and picture one as the basis for a nursery rhyme. 

The challenge is to use one of the quotes either directly within or to inspire a children’s storybook/poem. We should remember that many children’s books have only a sentence, a phrase or several words per page. Our poems don’t have to be prolonged, complex ballads with half a dozen characters. Amaya says sweet and refined octaves will do.

34 thoughts on “Kafka’s Cage

  1. Canaries& parakeets & parrots, oh my. You’re right, caged birds are no longer the vogue. A bird in a cage, and a fish in a bowl was in every home in 1957 This quote for me is very existential. We are incomplete without a partner.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Candy. The one I really wanted was copyrighted. I contacted the photographer for permission, she was very nice about it, but couldn’t grant it. This was the next best one, found after a lot of searching!


  2. That is a very interesting way of looking at the empty cage with its door open. Usually one would see that as a symbol of hope: the oppressed finally found freedom. You, and Kafka, help us to see it from a new perspective. One of gathering together. One of an invitation to the prodigal to come home.

    Liked by 1 person

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