The first two stanzas of the poem are a simple description of the bird, not knowing it is being watched by the poet, being a bird. The third stanza is where Dickinson really hits her stride. The bird's "rapid eyes...hurried all abroad" is a darn good description of a bird on alert for predators. And while comparing the bird's eyes to "Beads" seems to make the bird less alive the fact that the beads are "frightened," while perhaps overly humanizing the bird, captures the look I've seen birds have when they noticed my presence (though the non-poetical would probably use "wary" as the adjective). The bird must have been made wary by Dickinson coming forward to offer it a crumb.
The bird, of course, refuses the crumb and "unrolled his feathers / And rowed him softer home." Anyone who has seen crows fly across the sky can appreciate comparing birds' wings in flight to oars: in fact the simplest way I was taught to remember what a crow looks like in flight is "Row, row, row, your crow."
But Dickinson takes the analogy of the bird's wings rowing through the air a step further and tiptoes towards whimsy when she extends her metaphor to "Butterflies, off Banks of Noon, / Leap, plashless, as they swim." The sky becomes the sea and butterflies, at high noon, leap into the air without a splash, a delightful image to this poetry-aficionado and a wonderful way to end the poem.
"A bird came down the walk----" by Emily Dickinson
The Soul selects her own Society
The speaker says that “the Soul selects her own Society—” and then “shuts the Door,” refusing to admit anyone else—even if “an Emperor be kneeling / Upon her mat—.” Indeed, the soul often chooses no more than a single person from “an ample nation” and then closes “the Valves of her attention” to the rest of the world.
The meter of “The Soul selects her own Society” is much more irregular and halting than the typical... [continues]
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