"A Bird, came down the Walk"Read about another poem on the list.
This is a poem I studied at school at about the age of ten. It is not as cryptic as many of Dickinson’s poems so it’s perfect for younger poetry readers. Dickinson valued the musicality of words and she loved a hymnal beat. The bird’s ‘frightened Beads’ for eyes and its ‘Velvet Head’ are the sort of recognisable, tactile images that children love. As a child who loved words, ‘plashless’ sang to me and gave me an understanding of the power of originality. I distinctly remember reciting this poem to my four sisters while acting out the part of the bird: hopping sidewise, glancing ‘with rapid eyes’ and finally unrolling my feathers to row away. Read this one to your young friends.
Emily Dickinson is one of Ruth Padel's top ten women poets.