A Bird came down the Walk—

by Emily Dickinson

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What does the speaker observe in "A Bird came down the Walk—"?

Quick answer:

In "A Bird came down the Walk—," the speaker sees a bird walk along the path, eat a worm, drink some dew, and hop onto a wall. They also see him look around and hurry away. When they offer him a crumb, the bird flies away.

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Emily Dickinson’s poem describes a short incident in which the speaker observes a bird. The speaker does not specify the location but refers to a “Walk” and a “Wall” on which the bird moves. Most of the poem is devoted to visual imagery as the speaker describes what they see. The speaker also mentions some of their own actions and thoughts.

The first observation the speaker makes refers to the bird’s motion along the walk. They do not specify how the bird moves, simply that he “came down the Walk.” The next thing they mention seeing is the bird eating a worm. He first bites the “Angle Worm” in half and then eats the whole thing.

In the second stanza, the speaker sees the bird drink dew from a blade of grass. The next action observed is the bird hopping toward or onto a wall, allowing a beetle to pass him. The speaker then mentions the bird looking around, hurrying, and moving his head. Again, they do not state his exact kind of motion. In this stanza, the speaker offers their own idea of the bird’s emotions, using a simile: his eyes “looked like frightened Beads, I thought.” They continue speculating that the bird feels endangered.

The last six lines use several metaphors for the bird’s motions, as the speaker uses imagery that conveys their own thoughts more than what they actually see. After the speaker offers “him a Crumb,” the bird presumably flies away. The speaker states that “he unrolled his feathers.” They apply metaphors related to water, comparing the bird's motion to rowing or butterflies swimming.

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What was the bird looking for in "A Bird came down the Walk—"?

In Emily Dickinson's poem "A Bird came down the Walk—," the bird is searching for a morning meal. The bird is able to find a worm that he quickly snatches up and bites in half. Then, satisfied with this breakfast, the bird takes a drink of dew from the grass that is covered with the morning water. The speaker offers the bird a bit of food, but the bird is too suspicious of people and departs in flight once the speaker offers the crumb. The bird flew down to obtain his breakfast, quickly surveyed the scene, and then departed gracefully back into the sky. The poem is certainly a lovely glance into the simple morning search for breakfast from a lovely little bird.

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