A Bird Came Down the Walk Summary

A Bird Came Down the Walk
                                      Emily Dickinson

The key theme seen “A bird came down the walk” is the poet celebration of and joy in beauty and wonder of a bird. In this poem, Dickinson describes her observations of a bird that enters the human’s world. The bird is unaware that it is secretly been watched. She watches as the bird bites an angleworm in half, taking a back and amuses by the uncivilised nature of the bird.

“A bird cam down the walk
He did not know I saw
He bit an angleworm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw”

Dickinson continues to monitor the actions of the bird in stanza two, portraying him as a courteous creature that politely hops to one side “to let a beetle pass”. Everything in nature seems ordered and right. The bird finds the food and drinks with ease and the bird is also courteous and caring.
“And then he drank a dew
From a convient grass
And then hopped sidewise to the wall
To let a beetle pass”

In stanza three the poet observes the fear that is to be seen in the birds “rapid eyes”. The images seen in this stanza are both accurate and effective. “Frightened beads” and “Velvet Head” are superbly precise images.

“He glanced with rapid eyes
That hurried all around
They looked like frightened beads, I thought
He stirred his velvet head”

It is in stanza four when we see the bird in danger that Dickinson makes herself known to it. The word “cautious” could refer to either Dickinson or the bird. In an act of sympathy towards the bird, Dickinson offers it a “crumb” but the bird refuses and flies away. The portrayal of the bird taking flight suggests the elegance and fluency of its beating wings.

“Like one in danger, Cautious
I offered him a crumb
And he unrolled his feathers
And rowed him softer home”

The closing stanza sees the poet making effective use of sensuous imagery to compare the steady quiet movement of the bird’s wings to those of a rowed boat whose oars...
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