What does the bird ask to the reader?

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The bird in this poem does not ask anything either of the reader or of the speaker, who is watching him with interest. On the contrary, the bird "did not know" he was being watched as he came down the "Walk" in the speaker's garden, under her keen eye. The...

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The bird in this poem does not ask anything either of the reader or of the speaker, who is watching him with interest. On the contrary, the bird "did not know" he was being watched as he came down the "Walk" in the speaker's garden, under her keen eye. The bird goes about his ordinary business, eating an "Angle Worm," drinking dew from "a convenient grass," and stepping to the side on the walk to allow access to a passing beetle. All of this ordinary behavior the speaker observes with interest, because the bird's attitude changes immediately once it becomes conscious of her presence.

As soon as he recognizes that he is not alone, the bird's movements become "rapid," as if he senses danger. His "Velvet Head" stirs and his eyes appear like "frightened Beads." The speaker, "Cautious," offers the bird a crumb, as if wanting to engage with him and enter into his world. However, he does not accept. Instead, he immediately seeks escape from this interaction by taking off in a homeward flight softer "Than Oars divide the Ocean." This comparison creates a vivid image of the bird's wings carding through the sky like an oar parting waves; the bird has rejected the idea of remaining in place, now he knows that he is no longer alone, and does not want to take what is offered by the speaker. Instead, he softly and determinedly returns home.

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