A Bird, Came Down the Walk

A Bird, Came Down the Walk

by Emily Dickinson

A Bird, came down the Walk –
He did not know I saw –
He bit an Angle Worm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw,

And then, he drank a Dew
From a convenient Grass –
And then hopped sidewise to the Wall
To let a Beetle pass –

He glanced with rapid eyes,
That hurried all abroad –
They looked like frightened Beads, I thought,
He stirred his Velvet Head. –

Like one in danger, Cautious,
I offered him a Crumb,
And he unrolled his feathers,
And rowed him softer Home –

Than Oars divide the Ocean,
Too silver for a seam,
Or Butterflies, off Banks of Noon,
Leap, plashless as they swim.

Summary of A Bird, Came Down the Walk

  • Popularity of “A Bird, Came down the Walk: Emily Dickinson, a great American poet, wrote ‘A Bird, Came Down the Walk’. It is a famous thought-provoking composition of natural beauty. The bird is also addressed as a human, especially a male that makes the poem more relatable. The poem speaks about a tiny bird that comes down to the earth to satisfy his hunger. It also illustrates how he reacts carefully to his environment. The poem explores the human connection with the natural world.
  • “A Bird, Came down the Walk” As a Representative of Nature: This poem is about the speaker’s interaction with a bird that comes down in search of food. The poem begins when the speaker scrutinizes a bird moving along the pathway. Unaware about the surroundings, the bird catches a worm, cuts it into pieces, and devours it. Also, he drinks dewdrops from the grass, then slowly hops aside to let the beetle pass. The bird, fearful, looks around quickly with rapid eyes. Both the speaker and the bird are trying to surmount their fears because the bird is walking in a strange land and the narrator is on his path. The speaker gently offers him a crumb, but, instead of taking, he unrolled his feathers and takes his flight back home. The speaker notices his departure and elegantly describes his casual walk.
  • Major Themes in “A Bird, Came down the Walk”: Nature’s beauty, human connection with nature, and self-consciousness are the major themes of this poem. At first glance, the poem seems simply about a bird that comes down to satisfy his hunger and departs gently without bringing any harm to the earth. On a deeper level, the poem explains the inner self-conscious nature of man versus bird. Normally, nature acts as a mother that provides comfort to every living creature. However, here, it frightens the bird and leaves the speaker shy. Keeping the fear of being caught in mind, the bird walks away whereas the writer’s interaction with the bird is also somewhat suspenseful.

Analysis of Literary Devices Used in “A Bird, Came Down the Walk”

Literary devices are tools used by writers to convey their emotions, ideas, and themes to make texts more appealing to the reader. Emily Dickinson has also used some literary devices in this poem to make it appealing. The analysis of some of the literary devices used in this poem has been listed below.

  1. Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line. For example, the sound of /o/ in ‘And rowed him softer Home’ and the sound of /i/ in ‘They looked like frightened Beads, I thought’.
  2. Alliteration: Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line in quick succession. For example, the sound of /l/ in ‘They looked like frightened Beads, I thought’.
  3. Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line. For example, the sound of /d/ in ‘And then hopped sidewise to the Wall’ and the sound of /n/ in ‘And then, he drank a Dew’.
  4. Enjambment: It is defined as a thought in verse that does not come to an end at a line break. Instead, it is continued in the next line or verse. For example,

“And then hopped sidewise to the Wall
To let a Beetle pass.”

  1. Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. For example, “A Bird, came down the Walk”, “He bit an Angle Worm in halves” and “I offered him a Crumb.”
  2. Metaphor: It is a figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between different persons and objects. For example, the bird’s head is compared with velvet in the last line of the third stanza, ‘He stirred his Velvet Head’.
  3. Personification: Personification is to give human qualities to inanimate objects. For example, the bird is personified throughout the poem. The poet uses ‘he’ instead of ‘it’ in the following verses, ‘He bit an Angle Worm in halves’, ‘And he unrolled his feathers’, ‘And rowed him softer Home’.
  4. Simile: It is a figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between different persons and objects by using ‘like’ or ‘as’. For example, bird’s eyes are compared with beads in ‘They looked like frightened Beads, I thought’.
  5. Symbolism: Symbolism is a use of symbols to signify ideas and qualities by giving them symbolic meanings different from their literal meanings. Dreams symbolize hope and sadness.

Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in “A Bird, Came Down the Walk”

Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is the analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.

  1. Quatrain: A quatrain is a four-lined stanza borrowed from Persian poetry. Here each stanza is a quatrain.
  2. Rhyme Scheme: The poem follows the ABAB rhyme scheme and this pattern continues till the end.
  3. Stanza: A stanza is a poetic form of some lines. There are five stanzas in this poem, with each comprises four lines.

Quotes to be Used

The lines stated below are useful while describing the beauties of nature.

Than Oars divide the Ocean,
Too silver for a seam,
Or Butterflies, off Banks of Noon,
Leap, plashless as they swim.”