The poet uses aquatic motions to describe the bird's flight. How appropriate is the reference ? Give reasons

Expert Answers
lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The bird that the speaker is observing in this poem actually displays all of its bird-related instincts to the speaker, and she relates them over the course of his relatively short 5 stanza poem! The poem opens with the bird eating a worm, "the fellow," raw and then drinking some "dew from a convenient grass" and then stepping aside "to let a beetle pass." None of this seems all that remarkable. In this next two stanzas the bird becomes aware of the speaker and gets a little anxious, and when the speaker approaches the bird and "offers a crumb" he flies away. Again, that is what the reader expects of a bird, but the speaker of this poem expresses it with such a beautiful metaphor, and the reader can imagine the ease with which the bird takes off. She compares his opening of his wings in preparation for flight to the opening of oars on a boat, and his take off to "oars [that] divide the ocean / too silver for seam." That image makes perfect sense. Good rowing should be a perfect unison of the two oars (wings) as they cut into the water (air) to propel (fly) the boat (bird) forward. The strength and fluidity of the bird's movement are like perfect rowing with oars where the "seam" between the bird and the sky are almost a bit blurred, and the bird becomes one with the horizon he flies into.

Read the study guide:
A Bird came down the Walk—

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question