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Dickinson’s Poetry

Emily Dickinson

“A Bird came down the Walk—...”

“The Soul selects her own Society—”

“After great pain, a formal feeling comes—...”

Summary

The speaker describes once seeing a bird come down the walk, unaware that it was being watched. The bird ate an angleworm, then “drank a Dew / From a convenient Grass—,” then hopped sideways to let a beetle pass by. The bird’s frightened, bead-like eyes glanced all around. Cautiously, the speaker offered him “a Crumb,” but the bird “unrolled his feathers” and flew away—as though rowing in the water, but with a grace gentler than that with which “Oars divide the ocean” or butterflies leap “off Banks of Noon”; the bird appeared to swim without splashing.

Form

Structurally, this poem is absolutely typical of Dickinson, using iambic trimeter with occasional four-syllable lines, following a loose ABCB rhyme scheme, and rhythmically breaking up the meter with long dashes. (In this poem, the dashes serve a relatively limited function, occurring only at the end of lines, and simply indicating slightly longer pauses at line breaks.)

Commentary

Emily Dickinson’s life proves that it is not necessary to travel widely or lead a life full of Romantic grandeur and extreme drama in order to write great poetry; alone in her house at Amherst, Dickinson pondered her experience as fully, and felt it as acutely, as any poet who has ever lived. In this poem, the simple experience of watching a bird hop down a path allows her to exhibit her extraordinary poetic powers of observation and description.

Dickinson keenly depicts the bird as it eats a worm, pecks at the grass, hops by a beetle, and glances around fearfully. As a natural creature frightened by the speaker into flying away, the bird becomes an emblem for the quick, lively, ungraspable wild essence that distances nature from the human beings who desire to appropriate or tame it. But the most remarkable feature of this poem is the imagery of its final stanza, in which Dickinson provides one of the most breath-taking descriptions of flying in all of poetry. Simply by offering two quick comparisons of flight and by using aquatic motion (rowing and swimming), she evokes the delicacy and fluidity of moving through air. The image of butterflies leaping “off Banks of Noon,” splashlessly swimming though the sky, is one of the most memorable in all Dickinson’s writing.

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The Brain is than the Sky' Dickinson crossword

by crosswords1, September 28, 2013

This time, we got the following crossword puzzle clue : The Brain is than the Sky' Dickinson that also known as The Brain is than the Sky' Dickinson 5 letters . First, we gonna look for more hints to the The Brain is than the Sky' Dickinson crossword puzzle . Then we will collect all the require information and for solving The Brain is than the Sky' Dickinson crossword . In the final, we get all the possible answers for the this crossword puzzle definition.
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Hope poem analysis

by Nerradnahc, February 21, 2014

What is hope? Hope is what gives someone the feeling that they still can succeed even when everything is against them. It gives someone the will to go on even when there is only a small chance. In the poem “Hope” the poet Emily Dickinson describes hope as an never ending greatness that “perches in the soul”, it’s inside you and keeps you warm. Hope can not be put down easily and never ask for anything even in tough times. In this poem, Emily Dickinson describes hope as a lively, confident bird that go against chillest land and stra... Read more

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Biblical Allusion

by 14elusky, April 13, 2014

I think it's possible that this poem has a biblical allusion when it refers to the bird. Dickinson was raised in the transcendentalist era, and there was a lot of criticism oriented around the bible. The allusion could be that Jesus was said to give bread to people of poverty. He then told them not to eat the bread without giving the crumbs to the bird. I think this relates to the poem because man and nature was seen as one, while now they are considered to be vastly divided.

I'm not religious so I have no idea if this is correct or ... Read more

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