A Bird came down the Walk— by Emily Dickinson

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Please give me a summary for the poem "A Bird came down the Walk".

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"A Bird came down the Walk" by the poet Emily Dickinson is a five-stanza poem concerning her perceptions upon seeing this winged creature go about its daily activities. It is her observation of the natural world as it coexists with man's increasingly modern society approaching the 20th century. She sees the bird approaching from down a sidewalk in her community.

She sees the bird in its natural, splendid beauty engage in acts that it must engage in to survive. Although the bird looks like a peaceful creature, it must forage for food to live and therefore goes after a worm and devours it. Consequently, this taints her view somewhat of this creature that she realizes has a killer instinct as well.

She also sees the gentleness in the bird, who acquiesces to a beetle:


     And then hopped sidewise to the Wall

     To let a Beetle pass—


In essence, the bird mirrors the actions that humankind takes. We can be harsh and gentle, alternatively, as it suits our purposes. The bird in the poem looks around to see who has witnessed its actions; we often do the same in our interactions in society. Sometimes we act harshly and then feel ashamed and guilty for what we have done. Sometimes we know we have to be aggressive and do what it takes to survive – within reason and within the law. In this poem, the bird is doing what birds do, it is what is inbred in them, and the author observes these actions and is somewhat surprised at the complex personality of a bird that she looked upon as a gentle creature.

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