Once more, with feeling.

Here’s one more poem for National Poetry Month, this one by Emily Dickinson. To be honest, I don’t really like Emily Dickiinson. But part of learning to like poetry is learning to like The Belle of Amherst. And really, the reason I don’t like her is because her poems always put “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” in my head. Hopefully I can get over that one day.

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, plashless, as they swim.

I actually have a story about this one. In high school, we had an English Fair, where we could somehow illustrate literature. I’m not very artistic, so I never got into it, but sometimes we’d have classroom assignments that we were required to enter.

My junior year, our English class divided into groups and illustrated Emily Dickinson poems on a poster. My group had this poem, and we made the most ghetto-fabulous poster you have ever seen. There was a bird and a dead worm and a sidewalk and a sun. The perspective was all wrong – the sidewalk looked as if we were looking down on it, and yet the sun was also next to the sidewalk. The bird was enormous, in a “larger than the sun” kind of way. We loved that poster and worked very hard on it, but it was, simply, not good. And, of course, we won first place in some area of the English Fair – illustrating poetry, probably. That’s the only time I ever won a prize for anything artistic.

With a story like this, I should really not hate Emily Dickinson. I’ll work on it.

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    Once more, with feeling. – Through a Glass, Darkly

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    Once more, with feeling. – Through a Glass, Darkly

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