American Robin (Turdus migratorius)
Emily Dickinson's Nature Mysticism : A Photo Poetic Labyrinth
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Circuit III - (18) A Bird Came Down the Walk (J-0328) (F-0359)

(1) A bird came down the walk:  
He did not know I saw —
(2) He bit an angleworm in halves  
And ate the fellow, raw.

(3) And then he drank a dew  
From a convenient grass,
(4) And then hopped sidewise to the wall  
To let a beetle pass.

(5) He glanced with rapid eyes  
That hurried all abroad —
(6) They looked like frightened beads, I thought —  
He stirred his velvet head

(7) Like one in danger, cautious,  
I offered him a crumb,
(8) And he unrolled his feathers  
And rowed him softer home

(9) Than oars divide the ocean,  
Too silver for a seam,
(10) Or butterflies, off banks of noon,  
Leap, plashless, as they swim.

~ Emily Dickinson

Commentary adapted from Emily Dickinson's Poems & Letters
(1) "The Violets are by my side, the Robin very near, and
"Spring" — they say, Who is she — going by the door. ~ (L #187)
(1-4) "The robin is a Gabriel in humble circumstances — his dress
denotes him socially, of transport's working classes." ~ (J-1483) (F-1520)
(1-10) "I knew a bird that would sing as firm in the center of dissolution,
as in it's father's nest. Phoenix, or the Robin?   While I leave you
to guess, I will take Mother her tea." ~ (L #685)

---------
(as if the same text were a poem:)

"I knew a bird that would sing
as firm in the center
of dissolution,
as in it's father's nest.
Phoenix, or the Robin?
While I leave you to guess,
I will take Mother her tea."
---------
(5-8) "I knew not but the next would be my final inch — this gave me
that precarious gait some call experience." ~ (J-0875) (F-0926)
(6-7) "You think my gait 'spasmodic' I am in danger — Sir —
You think me 'uncontrolled' — I have no Tribunal." (L #265)
(7-8) "The robin is the one that speechless from her nest submit
that home and certainty and sanctity are best." ~ (J-0828) (F-0501)
(7-10) "How deep this lifetime is — one guess
at the waters, and we are plunged beneath!" ~ (L #822)
(7-10) "Silence's oblation to the ear supersedes sound —
Sweetest of renowns to remain." ~ (L 458)
(8-10) "[A] bird's far navigation discloses just a hue — a plash
of oars, a gaiety — then swallowed up, of view." ~ (J-0243) (F-0257)
(9) "An everywhere of silver, with ropes of sand to keep
it from effacing the track called land —" ~ (J-0884) (F-0931)
(9-10) "A butterfly . . . repairing everywhere, without design, that
I could trace, except to stray abroad on miscellaneous enterprise."
~ (J-0354) (F-0610)
(10) "To him who keeps an Orchis' heart —
The swamps are pink with June." ~ (J-0022) (F-0031)
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