Icon by Nana Faisal and Karine Shahnazaryan (The Noun Project)
A Bird Came Down the Walk
Have fun with the poem by trying this...
This poem tells a story in miniature. The speaker watches a bird eating a worm and drinking a drop of water. When the speakers offers the bird a crumb, it flies away. That's it but the words Emily Dickinson chooses make the poem stranger and more mysterious than that!
Start by reading the poem aloud. Then note down all the words the poet uses to describe the movements and actions of the bird. Say these out loud and think about how the bird would look doing these things. Have a go at miming these actions. Watch a bird outside moving around for a few moments if you can. How would you describe their movements and actions?
Read the whole poem out loud again and think about whether the way Emily Dickinson describes a bird links to the way you have seen birds act. How could you perform the poem in a way that captures the strange spirit of the poem?
A Bird came down the walk:
He did not know I saw;
He bit an angle-worm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw.
And then he drank a dew
From a convenient grass,
And then hopped sidewise to the wall
To let a beetle pass.
He glanced with rapid eyes
That hurried all abroad,–
They looked like frightened beads, I thought;
He stirred his velvet head
Like one in danger; cautious,
I offered him a crumb,
And he unrolled his feathers
And rowed him softer home
Than oars divide the ocean,
Too silver for a seam,
Or butterflies, off banks of noon,
Leap, splashless, as they swim.