right from my favorites folder Lyrics Blackbird singing in the dead of night Take these broken wings and learn to fly All your life You were only waiting for this moment to arise. Blackbird singing in the dead of night Take these sunken eyes and learn to see All your life You were only waiting for this moment to be free. Blackbird fly Blackbird fly Into the light of the dark black night. Blackbird fly Blackbird fly Into the light of the dark black night. Blackbird singing in the dead of night Take these broken wings and learn to fly All your life You were only waiting for this moment to arise You were only waiting for this moment to arise You were only waiting for this moment to arise. Interpretation This song is a simple allegory about the struggle of black people, symbolized by the blackbird, to gain complete freedom, not just the legal freedom that was rendered in 1865. The dead of night covers the time period between emancipation to the then present, the 1960s. The slaves were freed but they had nothing but broken wings to fly with. Many of them stayed on at the plantations because there simply was no realistic way for them to fly off. The moment that they've been waiting for all their lives is the gathering storm of the 1960s, the Civil Rights movement. In the second verse, the Beatles speak of taking these sunken eyes and learning to see. How is this different than broken wings? Well, sight is mental; flight more physical. Starting with the Brown vs. the Board of Education case in 1954, blacks moved into the schools, into the world of integrated education. This is probably what Lennon and McCartney were talking about. With broken wings, the black community waits for a moment to arise to march, to protest, and to gain a further freedom than emancipation had given them. With sunken eyes they will gain ultimate freedom, the freedom of the mind. In the chorus, the Beatles are encouraging blacks to rise up and take advantage of this moment. They still admit there is much darkness -- it is a dark, black night still -- but there is a light there and blacks must move towards it. One question remains: why do the Beatles say the blackbird was singing in dead of night? It is there way of acknowledging that blacks have never lost hope throughout the ages and that they often have expressed that hope through actual song. It's a very powerful symbol. Well, that's how I see it, anyway. As with all allegories, the interpretation fails if all elements don't contribute to the theme. So far, my students pretty much go along with this interpretation. But I'm always willing to hear more, to change my point of view. Poetic devices The song has good examples of symbolism. The blackbird is a symbol for black people. The broken wings are a symbol for physical incapacitation. The sunken eyes are a symbol for lack of education. The light of the dark black night is a symbol for the developing civil rights movement. There is some imagery in this song. The singing is an aural image, but not a powerful one. The broken wings and sunken eyes are strong visual images. Contrast is used: the black night versus the small, bright light. Also, seeing with sunken eyes, flying with broken wings. The use of repetition is strong. The final line, sung three times, is a call to arms almost. Of course, there is rhyme. I like to point out that the 1st and 3rd lines of the verses aren't total rhymes -- they're vowel rhymes, night/life. Musical impact We discuss the use of acoustical guitar. Why not electric? The acoustic guitar, plucked rather than strummed, softens the song greatly. It is a Martin Luther King method of a call to arms rather than the strident voice of a Malcolm X. This fits in with the Beatles long-standing view that "all you need is love." I like to point out that their own call to revolution in "Revolution" has a soft version to counterbalance the harder one.