In Memory of Liane Gairn
1988 - 2017


Sunday 1st October 2017
Golders Green Crematorium, London



I know what the caged bird feels, alas! 
When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;   
When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,   
And the river flows like a stream of glass; 
When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,   
And the faint perfume from its chalice steals— 
I know what the caged bird feels! 

I know why the caged bird beats his wing
Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;   
For he must fly back to his perch and cling   
When he fain would be on the bough a-swing; 
And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars   
And they pulse again with a keener sting— 
I know why he beats his wing! 

I know why the caged bird sings, ah me, 
When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,— 
When he beats his bars and he would be free; 
It is not a carol of joy or glee, 
But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,   
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings— 
I know why the caged bird sings!

Source: Twentieth-Century American Poetry (2004)


Liane Gairn

Liane, you placed smiles like flowers
On the altar of the heart.
May this dark grief flower with hope
In every heart that loves you.

Liane Gairn