Why did the bird's eyes look like frightened beads?
The bird that has alighted on this plot of land is hopping about, feeding on worms and lapping up dew from the grass. However, as all animals are, it is constantly on watch. When the bird takes a moment's pause, its eyes flit around, gleaming like dark beads, according to Dickinson.
The pitch-black eyes would have darted back and forth, examining every aspect of the scene, and most likely would have spotted Dickinson (or the character poem's speaker, if it is not her). In that moment, the bird would have been taken by innate fear, as all prey animals are when observing a larger creature who is potentially dangerous. The bird does not know the speaker's intentions with it, so it is being extremely cautious. Fortunately, the speaker offers it a crumb to eat, showing her kind intentions.
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