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A Bird came down the Walk

Emily Dickinson

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Added by: Marcy Jarvis
I'm quite sure this has an S before the "plashless," aSShole.
Um, no.
Added by: Jough
You're quite wrong. Dickinson used the word "plashless," not "splashless."

What makes you "quite sure"?

And even if it WAS a typo, that's no reason for name calling, is it?

So unbecoming!

Added by: Dee
The original poem by Dickinson is writen as plashless, but it actually means splashless... I guess your both right in a way.

What do you all thing the poem is about anyway? I think she might be talking about the struggle between the good and bad in society. The bird would represent a shaddy person (eats angleworms, lets beatles pass) and the last paragraph I believe illudes to God. Though I know she wasn't particularly religious, so... ?
A Bird came down the walk
Added by: niall
Yes Dickinson used 'plashless'not 'splashless'. You wouldn't expect butterflies to 'splash' anyway.Not even synaesthetically!! Even allowing for the eccentricity of some of her punctuation and so on I notice that many of Dickinson's poems are badly reproduced on the web and most of the culprits are American web sites which must say something about the contempt you Yanks have for your own cultural icons; Dickinson is definitely one of those.
Added by: jeff davis
Nearly forty years ago, I gave a presentation in English class, and cited ED's use of "plashless" --a made-up word--to support the thesis that her stature as a poet rose more out of an American need to have some prominent female poet somewhere in America, than from any genuine greatness on her part. How bizarre to assign to a spinster who has locked herself away writing poems on scraps of paper that she then folds up into little beads to string into necklesses--how bizarre to make such a one into an "expert" on life and love!

I was a suspicious little heretic and troublemaker back then--still am--but also inexperienced and unsophisicated--not so much now, I hope.

So I now see some real poetic talent in her use of "plashless".

Soundwise, you get an entirely different, better fitting, softer, deeper sound. More poetically important, the word moves out of the concrete, the "known" world, and takes on a contextually fluid, intermediate, and indefined quality--which engages the reader in the process from which meaning emerges, a meaning as unique and personal as the experience the reader brings to the moment.

Butterflies clearly don't "swim", and "banks of noon" conjures (a poetic image of?) a space somehow to be found between earth (banks of ,...well, earth), and sea (Grand Banks, Jodrell Banks, etc), and time ("noon"), and air (cloud banks). The butterly "swims" in a poetic nether world. Just as "plashless" does, and in doing, suggests.

Despite stripping the "s" from splashless, that sense of the word is still strongly suggested.

"Plashless", in provoking that mental search (unconscious, subconscoius?)for some meaning to attach to it, also suggests--to me at least, take it as you will--the word lash as in eyelash. Something about butterflies, their delicacy, the lightness of their touch. I have to think that this association, though entirely coincidental, is never the less a happy accident that gives the poem more depth.


Plash defined
Added by: Fred
According to the dictionary:
plash - noun: the sound like water splashing

Maybe she was indicating the lack of sound of water splashing, rather than the lack of splash.
Added by: Fred
WordWeb defines plash as "The sound like water splashing"
Perhaps the poet was referring to the absence of the SOUND of a splash.
Added by: sharky
yeah, plash would be "the sound of a splash" and "less" would be the suffix added to make the word have an opposite meaning.

obviously jeff davis is one of those guys who funnily reads too much into poems. I doubt emily dickeson was considering the possibilities of plashless's correlation with eyelashes, journey through a nonmaterial boundless world, etc...

she's talking about the plashlessness, somewhere in the realm of "silent" or "adroitly unsounding", of the butterfly.
What's it about?
Added by: Momo
Many conclusions can be drawn from the reading of anotherís words or thoughts and much more so when itís from a different era. We can only guess to her real intent for writing such a hypnotic poem. Iím an atheist and so I will interpret it as such.

Living in that era, one can guess that there are certain subjects that are taboo. And one such subject would be that of promiscuity or courtship from a womanís perspective. In short, she is writing about the moral divide between man and woman, there isnít one. If you replace her usage of Ďbirdí with Ďmaní, my point should be clearer. The moral promiscuity or courtship of man applies to woman as well, and should not be taboo.

You will have to guess the last part though because I donít think the administrators will allow this part of my interpretation. And all I can hint to my interpretation for this part is Ďoblivioní
Added by: oli
Pperhaps it's to do with double standards as the bird lets the beatle pass but has no problem eating a worm. Pperhaps beatles and worms represent something else.

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