From the poem “I Know why the caged bird sings” by Maya Angelou
The caged bird has no freedom. His feet are tied and wings are clipped. He stalks down the narrow cage and can seldom see through the bars of the cage. In this condition, all his dreams seem to be unachievable in his life. He has probably given up on his dreams of liberty and flying freely in the sky. His dreams are now ‘dead’. That is why the poet says that the bird ‘stands on the grave of dreams / his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream‘.
The bird’s movements have been restricted. It can seldom see through the bars of its cage. Its legs are tied and wings are clipped. Singing is the only movement it can do. It doesn’t know what else to do. Its dreams of being free and flying in the sky have been given up by it. This means its dreams are dead and the cage is the grave of its dreams.
The caged bird stands on the grave of dreams because that cage is like a graveyard to the bird’s dreams and aspirations. He is restricted to a great extent and his condition is nightmarish.
The caged bird is restricted to move, its feet are tied and wings are clipped. It can not pursue its dreams. Grave which is symbolic to death shows that the caged bird has no scope in life of pursuing its dreams. The dreams are now looking as if they are unachievable. Therefore the poet Maya Angelou metaphorically mentions that the caged bird stands on the grave of its dreams.
The caged bird has no freedom. It has been locked up behind a cage with bars of rage. His feet are also tied and his wings are also clipped. The poet Maya Angelou shows that the caged bird stands on a grave of dreams bacause she is trying to say that all the dreams of the caged bird are ‘dead’ or unachievable and so she has used ‘grave’.