Thursday, 13 June 2019

WEP Challenge - CAGED BIRD June 2019

It's time to join in the WEP Challenge for June 2019. 

To see the rules and guidelines please visit:

Here is my entry: 


Her mother looked after her father, she cleaned, did the laundry, did the cooking, did the dishes all without any help.  Hetty would rise early, rake out the embers from the bottom of the Rayburn*, relight the fire and get the water boiler ready for the day.  She would knead the dough for the bread placing it in the bottom oven to prove before baking it later in the day to ensure that there was fresh bread to go with Fred’s dinner in the evening when he came in from work.  Fred did the heavy work, digging the garden, fixing stuff in the house, he was quite the handyman.  She’d relegate him to the shed at Christmas to pluck the turkey, or to gut and skin rabbits so that she could make rabbit pies and Christmas dinners.  He drove her everywhere. 

She knew where the lines were.

He knew where the lines were.

Her daughters should have known where the lines were.

Eileen wasn't going to be like all those other wives, nope, not her.  Her husband would bow to her commands.  He would show her respect, love and admiration.  He would do his share in the house.  She would not expect him to cook, nope.  She would do all the cooking; she wouldn't trust his cooking anyway.  He could do the dishes, put the hoover round when he wasn’t working.  He should help her even when she told him there wasn't anything he could do.

Charles was a good earner, a man with prospects.  She would have a good life.  He provided all the nice things she wanted for the home and hearth.  He would buy her nice jewellery but she would choose it herself, he had no taste, it was much better if he was shown what she wanted.  Not like her engagement ring he sent to her in the post!  OK, so what that she’d chosen it from the catalogue, ringed it, dog-eared the page and left in his uniform pocket as he boarded the train to London before he travelled on to join his ship at Portsmouth. 

He should know what to do.

She knew what to do.

She taught him what to do.

Maggie wanted fun.  Ray was her husband, useless as an earner, always had an eye out for a bargain but didn’t give her enough money to feed them and their three kids.  Maggie worked part-time, field work, bar work, scrimped and made-do until one day, the fun had gone.  Life was a drudge.  She felt caged in until she escaped in to the arms of another.

He was the love of her life.

She was the love of his life.

They both found pastures new.

Now Eileen and Maggie’s daughters and sons lead different lives, some better, some still fighting for release.  All the offspring have different views on life and partners, husbands and wives.  Some tried the traditional route, felt trapped.  Some tried the hippy life, still trapped.  Some even tried same sex partners, caged in.

They were taught to be better.

They thought they had better.

Was it really better?

Who can tell? 

What will their children do with their lives, how will they live with others? 

Is everyone caged in some way or another?   

Will a second, third or any chances come their way?  Only time will tell.

Will we know all their secrets or are they caged in the hearts as well?

*similar to an Aga

A Victim No More

Too nice, she won’t mind

She’s always kind

Too laid back

What does she lack?

Manipulated by another

Abused by others

Too afraid to tell those who want to know

Hidden so deep

Too hard to keep

The tears come and the face dries

Nobody knows the pain inside

Kept inside the strong castle walls

What does she do when she falls?

She makes time for others

Listens to their troubles

Then it’s turned and doubled

In on her to spite her love

Nobody believes her when she says what she feels

Don’t be stupid they say

You are wrong they are right

So, she has another sleepless night

All she wants is to love and be loved

The tears flow when she is moved

Pushing out from the heart and caught

With no forethought

Tossed away like discarded paper

No use for the wrapper

Put the lid on it don’t let anybody see

The pain and love that is a divorcee

Deep, deep down

Unplumbed depths under the sea or space

A mind full of grace

Grinding out the race

Finding a way through the story

That she wrote before she was born

Making the mistakes, choosing free will

Living her life in a wonderland full of illusions

Trying to stop the agony, the pain, the hunger

Knowing she’s not getting any younger

Emerging through a rebirth of love

The second chance coming from above

She grabs it with both hands

And feels like she’s playing in a band

Joy and laughter, contentment and bliss

All sealed with her loving husband’s kiss.

She is a bird flying free

Landing on branches of every tree

No longer caged, restricted or barred

Her life is her own to share

With compassion and care

Kindness and respect, love and hope

Living a colourful life in a kaleidoscope

Of joy and release

Finding peace

No longer in a cage

It took her an age

Now she is free as a bird

Her voice is heard

Far and wide

Her tears have dried

Her heart is full

Word count: 929


  1. Is everyone caged in one way or another struck a chord with me. Probably. Almost certainly.
    Caged birds (literal or metaphoric) tug at my heart strings.
    It is simply wrong. We should all be free to fly...

  2. I think you're right: everyone is caged in a certain way. The trick is to choose your own cage, your own fetters. Nobody is completely free in a human society. I don't think it would be good for any of us to be completely free. There are always some limits, imposed by self or community or family or ...

  3. You're right, Sally, your story/poem shows different ways of being caged. Some people don't even realize they're caged. The traditional way of the division of labour in a marriage (with the woman doing the bulk of the housework even if she has a full-time job and children) was problematic and no wonder those women were frustrated. But not all. Some liked the way things were. It's really hard to find a workable solution. I confess I don't see too many forging a new paradim where there is no frustration on either side.

    I picked this out of your poem:

    She is a bird flying free
    Landing on branches of every tree
    No longer caged, restricted or barred
    Her life is her own to share
    With compassion and care...


    Well done!

  4. Hi Sally - well told indeed ... a WEP that covers the ways of life. While your poem is just so clever - and Denise has picked a very salient part ... we are caged - probably all of us ... in one way or another - but we can adapt or do adapt and realise what we can achieve in our lives with the right person. Interesting take - well written - cheers Hilary

  5. I relate to the protagonist in the poem. I'm one of those people who was always told to "just stop that stinkin' thinkin'," "just stop looking for attention," and "don't be stupid, you really don't feel that way."
    People tend to behave desperately when their thoughts and feelings are constantly minimized.

  6. All life is a cage, in one way or another. I think a person just has to find a cage that is comfortable and make some happiness from it. I loved all the symbolism in both writings. Well thought and nicely drawn together.

  7. Even from the same household all can move to a completely different cage. We just have to find the best one for us.

  8. The ways we are affected by the ways we grow up - and then cage ourselves in the opposite manner. Interesting take on the theme - well done!!

  9. Cages whether literal or, metaphorical are a part of life. Some are made with reluctance, others by choice, and even more are created a simple need to survive. Well done.

  10. While each generation faces different challenges in building a life, I'd like to think that we have that option to choose freely. As you show us, not all decisions end well, and many (most?) of us wind up in 'cages' of our own making. But don't we cling to that ideal, as your poem suggests, that we can through our dreams and hard work, escape to become -- 'no longer caged, restricted, or barred'?

  11. I enjoyed your the dichotomy between freedom and happiness and thinking that something is what it is only to find out it is something else. In the poem, I enjoyed reading about the the happy end.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

  12. So many different scenarios, all with the same thought - we would feel better if we did it differently. Freedom - is it in the way we look at things? Sigh. I enjoyed your poem as much as the story.

  13. Caged in one way or another from one generation to the next. The men as much as women, only in different ways and to different degrees. I wonder if we all broke out would we know how to live free?

    Enjoyed reading, particularly liked the easy flow of the language and the colloquialisms. Thanks for posting.

  14. Three viewpoints, one idea, good use of the prompt.

    Have a lovely day.

  15. Hi Sally
    You gave us a story and a poem. I liked them both. It's sad that there are so many unhappy people and that abuse dominates many. Well written.

  16. Your entry speaks a lot about the nature of cages. They may take many forms, and the choices we make may lead us into them without us realizing it. What kind of life is best? Will we find happiness through our choices, or will we be trapped by them? Only time can tell.

  17. Those are interesting viewpoints in the story - the various cages the characters put themselves and others into, but I felt like they all ended in unhappiness.

  18. So many cages for us all to choose - even make. Two observant and carefully crafted pieces. Different but complimentary. Excellent use of the theme.

  19. So true that we never know who is in a cage. What's right for some is a prison for others. Love the poetic way you presented this. Great use of the prompt.

  20. I think everyone is in some kind of cage, whether they know it or not. No one is completely free...

  21. That's an interesting meditation on relationships and freedom, or the lack thereof, but I think I rebel against the essentially negative conclusion, that every outcome is a cage. Call me an optimist, but while we all make compromises and live under certain constraints, I don't think they are all cages!

  22. Nicely done. Is everyone caged in someway? Not sure, but it's clear that happiness and freedom are not the same thing.

  23. Another contribution to the challenge that brings up the issue that all of us are caged in some fashion. Interesting that this theme produced so many similar takes on it. What is even more interesting is that all submissions are unique. Thanks for your story.

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